The Whole Fracking Enchilada


I HAVE COME to believe that extracting natural gas from shale using the newish technique called hydrofracking is the environmental issue of our time. And I think you should, too.

Saying so represents two points of departure for me. One: I primarily study toxic chemicals, not energy issues. I have, heretofore, ceded that topic to others, such as Bill McKibben, with whom I share this column space in Orion.

Two: I’m on record averring that I never tell people what to do. If you are a mother who wants to lead the charge against vinyl shower curtains, then you should. If the most important thing to you is organic golf courses, then they are. So said I.

But high-volume slick water hydrofracturing of shale gas — fracking — is way bigger than PVC and synthetic fertilizer. In fact, it makes them both cheaply available. Fracking is linked to every part of the environmental crisis — from radiation exposure to habitat loss — and contravenes every principle of environmental thinking. It’s the tornado on the horizon that is poised to wreck ongoing efforts to create green economies, local agriculture, investments in renewable energy, and the ability to ride your bike along country roads. It’s worth setting down your fork, pen, cellular phone — whatever instrument you’re holding — and looking out the window.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS can be viewed as a tree with two trunks. One trunk represents what we are doing to the planet through atmospheric accumulation of heat-trapping gasses. Follow this trunk along and you find droughts, floods, acidification of oceans, dissolving coral reefs, and species extinctions.

The other trunk represents what we are doing to ourselves and other animals through the chemical adulteration of the planet with inherently toxic synthetic pollutants. Follow this trunk along and you find asthma, infertility, cancer, and male fish in the Potomac River whose testicles have eggs inside them.

At the base of both these trunks is an economic dependency on fossil fuels, primarily coal (plant fossils) and petroleum (animal fossils). When we light them on fire, we threaten the global ecosystem. When we use them as feedstocks for making stuff, we create substances — pesticides, solvents, plastics — that can tinker with our subcellular machinery and the various signaling pathways that make it run.

Natural gas is the vaporous form of petroleum. It’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of fossil fuels: when burned, natural gas generates only half the greenhouse gases of coal, but when it escapes into the atmosphere as unburned methane, it’s one of the most powerful greenhouse gases of them all — twenty times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat and with the stamina to persist nine to fifteen years. You can also make petrochemicals from it. Natural gas is the starting point for anhydrous ammonia (synthetic fertilizer) and PVC plastic (those shower curtains).

Until a few years ago, much of the natural gas trapped underground was considered unrecoverable because it is scattered throughout vast sheets of shale, like a fizz of bubbles in a petrified spill of champagne. But that all changed with the rollout of a drilling technique (pioneered by Halliburton) that bores horizontally through the bedrock, blasts it with explosives, and forces into the cracks, under enormous pressure, millions of gallons of water laced with a proprietary mix of poisonous chemicals that further fracture the rock. Up the borehole flows the gas. In 2000, only 1 percent of natural gas was shale gas. Ten years later, almost 20 percent is.

International investors began viewing shale gas as a paradigm-shifting innovation. Energy companies are now looking at shale plays in Poland and Turkey. Fracking is under way in Canada. But nowhere has the technology been as rapidly deployed as in the United States, where a gas rush is under way. Gas extraction now goes on in thirty-two states, with half a million new gas wells drilled in the last ten years alone. We are literally shattering the bedrock of our nation and pumping it full of carcinogens in order to bring methane out of the earth.

And nowhere in the U.S. is fracking proceeding more manically than Appalachia, which is underlain by the formation called the Marcellus Shale, otherwise referred to by the Intelligent Investor Report as “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” and by the Toronto Globe and Mail as a “prolific monster” with the potential to “rearrange the continent’s energy flow.”

In the sense of “abnormal to the point of inspiring horror,” monster is not an inappropriate term here. With every well drilled — and thirty-two thousand wells per year are planned — a couple million gallons of fresh water are transformed into toxic fracking fluid. Some of that fluid will remain underground. Some will come flying back out of the hole, bringing with it other monsters: benzene, brine, radioactivity, and heavy metals that, for the past 400 million years, had been safely locked up a mile below us, estranged from the surface world of living creatures. No one knows what to do with this lethal flowback — a million or more gallons of it for every wellhead. Too caustic for reuse as is, it sloshes around in open pits and sometimes is hauled away in fleets of trucks to be forced under pressure down a disposal well. And it is sometimes clandestinely dumped.

By 2012, 100 billion gallons per year of fresh water will be turned into toxic fracking fluid. The technology to transform it back to drinkable water does not exist. And, even if it did, where would we put all the noxious, radioactive substances we capture from it?

HERE, THEN, are the environmental precepts violated by hydrofracking: 1) Environmental degradation of the commons should be factored into the price structure of the product (full-cost accounting), whose true carbon footprint — inclusive of all those diesel truck trips, blowouts, and methane leaks — requires calculation (life-cycle analysis). 2) Benefit of the doubt goes to public health, not the things that threaten it, especially in situations where catastrophic harm — aquifer contamination with carcinogens — is unremediable (the Precautionary Principle). 3) There is no away.

This year I’ve attended scientific conferences and community forums on fracking. I’ve heard a PhD geologist worry about the thousands of unmapped, abandoned wells scattered across New York from long-ago drilling operations. (What if pressurized fracking fluid, to be entombed in the shale beneath our aquifers, found an old borehole? Could it come squirting back up to the surface? Could it rise as vapor through hairline cracks?) I’ve heard a hazardous materials specialist describe to a crowd of people living in fracked communities how many parts per million of benzene will raise risks for leukemia and sperm abnormalities linked to birth deformities. I’ve heard a woman who lives by a fracking operation in Pennsylvania — whose pond bubbles with methane and whose kids have nosebleeds at night — ask how she could keep her children safe. She was asking me. And I had no answer. Thirty-seven percent of the land in the township where I live with my own kids is already leased to the frackers. There is no away.

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., is an ecologist, author, and cancer survivor. She is an expert on the environmental links to cancer and human health, including, especially, the health effects of fracking for natural gas. She holds a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Michigan and is the author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment and, most recently, Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Formerly on faculty at Cornell University, Sandra Steingraber is currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and a founder of the organization New Yorkers Against Fracking.


  1. I just saw “Gasland” on cable. Horrific- if those living in the eastern aquifer don’t stop it, NYC w/ be drinking methane soon.

  2. OMG! My own brother believes that some of the people that have explosive gases in their well-water is a hoax and that we, as so-called ‘extreme environmentalists, don’t have our facts straight! How do we fight this monstrous calamity?

    I just moved from Alaska, where it is almost a free-for-all for these
    Big Oil corporations… the state of Alaska actually pays for their equipment and their Oil islands in the oceans, doesn’t tax them and then the oil companies sell it back to Alaskans for more than they sell the gas overseas…but that’s okay because an Alaskan get $1000 a year from investments of the Permanent Dividend Fund…money from Big Oil that is reinvested into Monsanto, Wells Fargo, etc. etc. etc. It’s a nightmare!)

    I now live in the Appalachian area, where many mega-wealthy have ‘cabin-mansions’. I’m sure that many people invested in this type of calamity actually live or vacation right down the street from their own destructive investments.

    I am also a new mom and I’m overwhelmed by this information to top off everything else that is secretly kept away from the mainstream media. Thank you Orion for giving me something plausible to send to people to read. We can only continue to educate ourselves and quit supporting these addictions to oil/gas, and synthetic living.

    The biggest problem I see is how to heat my home? Hot water baseboards seem non-existent in this day and age…time to change this! In Alaska the old homesteads used hot water conduits through the wood-fired oven/stove in the kitchens….there are ways, but what will be practical?

    In a sense this is similar to MPG in the new cars today. Every product made is geared towards the support of Big Oil and any new technology that doesn’t support Big Oil gets blasted off the market immediately. My Honda cars 10 and 20 years ago got 55 MPG and today, 30 MPG is supposed to be great? And Hybrids only get 55 MPG…

    I wish someone could tell me that my son will have a natural world left to play in that is safe as he grows up. I did not get this emotion until I had a child of my own. Sadness and oppressive feelings regarding the issue of what’s left for the next generations are colossal understatements.

  3. I have been organizing to educate folks in Otsego County and NYC for
    3 years about the onslaught of hyddraulic fracturing. Your article is another plea for some sanity which does not exist with our fossil
    fuel industry. The industry is after all of our geology! They will stop a nothing short of a grassroots revolt against fracking.

  4. We are working hard in western PA, I live in Pittsburgh & one of our city council members is introducing legislation to ban drilling in the city, it’s hope that this will spark and inspire other cities & towns in PA to follow suit. On Nov. 3 we are holding a Marcellus Protest in Pittsburgh & invite citizens from throughout the Marcellus region to attend. Marcellus money can buy a lot of things. It cannot buy our VOTES.

  5. In 1962, I was a teenager and our water well in NW PA became contaminated with oil well shale and methane. For more than two years, my family struggled with collecting drinking water in glass jugs, and doing our laundry and bathing in relatives’ homes. When the plug was opened gas would escape from the top of our jet pump, and could be lit–with the flame rising from the basement to the floor joists. There were no guidelines or safeguards requiring the oil and gas industry to correct this. It was hell.

  6. granted, this process has problems….what do y’all suggest as an alternative to heating your home?
    And how much are y’all willing to pay?

  7. I don’t know if votes will do much to stop this. I’ve heard that there are virtually no regulations for fracking, that it has been under the radar in this regard and I don’t see this changing. Really, this is a nightmare. There have been a few articles on it in various publications I read on a regular basis but most people still know nothing about it. Honestly, what people are doing to the Earth in the name of profit, in the guise of providing us with the energy we supposedly demand in our daily lives, is evil, there is no other word for it. I say “supposedly” because there are other options, there are other technologies, and I know in my heart that given other choices most people would make the decision to change. Of course money to make those changes is an issue that can’t be ignored. And there it is: money again. I’m so sick of living in a world where everything boils down to money, whether it be corporate profits, my own inability to afford to install energy-saving/energy producing technology (that does exist but it’s rather expensive). It’s so disheartening. I had so much more belief in possibilities twenty years ago. Now, not so much.

  8. See, there you go: “How much are y’all willing to pay?” I’d pay whatever it took, if I had the $ but I don’t. Here in Maine, we use mostly oil, propane, and wood to heat our homes. But I see the rest of the country, and the Earth, being destroyed by this technology (along with oil, propane, and even wood, I know), but in my personal circumstance the money to install, for instance, an on-demand hot water heater which would dramatically cut my sister’s and my use of propane, doesn’t exist. We don’t have it and we can’t borrow it. And even if we could borrow it, I have no idea how we’d pay it back. So if y’all have $ in the bank, then do something about it. But if y’all don’t then there’s a systemic issue here than needs to be addressed if the rest of us are to actively participate in transforming our own personal lives and choices. Like I said, it all boils down to $ $ $, and this is what absolutely must change. And it has to change in our mindsets too, otherwise there really is no hope.

  9. If the EIR included “true cost of operations” and the offsets required to mitigate the toxic consequences truly calculated, it would be too expensive to pay, and it wouldn’t happen. But as long as political expediency rules, the golden law applies.

    The golden law supersedes the golden rule nowadays. Make the oil company CEOS and the major stockholders live in the cracking fields, drink the water, and raise their children there.

    The other suggestion- sue! Sue them all every one. The remedies are 3x plus punitive damages.

  10. Energy is supplied to meet demand. How many times do you walk into an empty room in your house where a light is on? Do you want coal to keep the lights on?

  11. I am absolutely horrified by the gas drilling going on around me and worried sick. I am doing everything I can think of to help raise awareness and to lobby my government officials for some strong new legislation to regulate this industry as well as a severance tax. I am fighting for a one year moratorium similar to the one in New York, but it seems to be such an uphill battle. I am exhausted and this is like a second full-time job to me. I worry about my grandchildren and what kind of horrors they will face, due to all of this toxic poisoning of our environment. We won’t get anywhere without massive public outcry. Everyone, and I mean everyone, must hound their state officials on this issue and demand they listen and do something. It is most difficult to be heard over the huge piles of money spent by the gas industry on lobbying and with campaign contributions. But, votes are what matter and we need to tell them they won’t get our votes if they don’t regulate this industry and bring our antiquated laws up to date with this new technology. If they are unopposed, get out and vote and DO NOT VOTE for them, bring down their numbers of votes to show them you mean business! Don’t stop. I won’t, not until I keel over. This is government sponsored terrorism in my opinion- they are supporting the poisoning of our water and air supplies.

  12. If you don’t have a good candidate to vote for in your district – WRITE in your own name.

    Wouldn’t it be something if 20% or more of the vote went to a variety of write ins? The crystal clear fact would remain: a sizeable # of voters chose someone other than the industry shill/candidate.

  13. I think the questions “what do y’all suggest as an alternative to heating your home? And how much are y’all willing to pay?” deserve our attention. As someone who has worked for decades to keep coal in the ground I know that if we don’t have alternatives, the coal will be used. Same with natural gas.

    Efficiency is the game changer. Renewables work to displace electricity, but unless we pick up the pace renewables are too slow, and they don’t matter to natural gas unless we learn to build and retrofit buildings so that heating needs are small enough that it makes sense to displace them with electric heat.

    Fracking and Marcellus separate the folks who care about imports from the folks who care about climate. That hurts. But at the same time we have a massive potential to increase utility efficiency programs for both electricity and natural gas. In 2009, for the first time, the combined effect of new efficiency and new renewables was greater than all new growth in consumption would have been if it hadn’t all been lost in the noise of the Great Recession. We may never see more coal used in the U.S. than was used in 2007.

    But we can triple the rate of efficiency merely by raising all states to the level of the four best ones. That will save almost $20 billion per year, and some of those savings can be used to build new renewables.

    At the same time, and more directly pertinent to natural gas, we can build zero energy buildings today. Current building standards cause builders to substitute efficient appliances for good insulation and windows. If we start with the “envelope” (insulation and windows and some other stuff) and do it right, we may not need to worry about the fact that some key appliances are pretty close to maximum efficiency.

    This in turn depends on working with the electric and natural gas utilities – paying them well enough that they actually want to see real net savings. It’s easy to do in principle, because the efficiency potential is huge, but consumer groups and industry get all hot and bothered when you talk about paying a larger return to a utility, even if the larger return is a specific function of savings the utility has created.

    The utilities have the ability to work with builders in a way that would make everyone happy, if we can just concentrate on building a systematic approach that actually reduces the need for natural gas.

    All of this won’t stop development of the Marcellus Shale with fracking. But it may limit the damage to the point where our kids don’t curse us and our communities aren’t filled with refugees from Florida and Louisiana, or what will be left of those states.

    There are lots of technologies which allow us to replace fossil fuels. But there is only one path that I know of which allows us to do so fast, and for less money than we will spend on energy otherwise. Lawmakers need to be pressed to increase state efficiency standards, expand them to fully include natural gas utilities, and to explore other economic shifts to ensure that the utilities make less money doing the wrong thing and more money doing the right thing.

  14. To those of you whose comments seem to indicate that you believe in some sort of compromise that would safely oversee and effectively enforce regulations on this widespread plan for high volume hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale, or believe that the monetary profits might outweigh the inevitable devastation……You are out of your fracking minds… you are not seeing the forest for the trees… nothing short of a total ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing will stop the greed, corruption, disasters and cover ups that will follow the gold rush. Maybe you can redistribute wealth, but you CAN NOT redistribute health……

  15. This country is aiding and abetting the oil and gas industry by an obscene amount of tax incentives and write offs to drill. Incentives and write offs that only that industry has. They can’t lose–and that is on top of the fact that they were given exemptions to the clean air and water acts by the previous administration. In PA the mineral rights were severed from the surface of the land a long time ago, with the mineral operators given “dominant rights” over the surface owner. This industry can’t lose. The homeowner and landowner have no rights–except the “privilege” to pay taxes.

  16. I have been following the site for several years, and recommend it as a central point regarding energy efficiency/the built environment and some well documented projections/scenarios. 50 major municipalities have adopted the codes, with more coming online as we speak. The industries have been rewarded by scofflaw administrations, drawn from deep in the belly of the oil company’s worst devils, and placed in charge of –wink-wink– “regulation” (nudge, haw, haw, hardee, haw, heehaw) unfortunately, until this criminal conspiracy against good hard working american citizens is treated appropriately, we are stuck in these hand-wringing victim situations.

    It’s pretty obvious what has to happen to defend our land, our rights, our citizenship. Do we have what it takes to take back our country?

  17. I am currently living in the heart of Marcellus shale country in northeast Pennsylvania. All of our local politicians and power-brokers have been bought-off by the gas industry. We have already suffered through contaminated well water (Dimock, PA) and the land adjacent to reservoirs which serve over one-hundred thousand people has been leased for drilling. We are badly in need of grassroots supporters and so I ask all of you to visit our website:

  18. Here in NY too many politicians are telling us they have our back — they’ll be sure not to allow fracking UNTIL it’s proven safe. But, as Sandra Steingraber so clearly explains, how can science or the EPA or anyone every show that fracking is safe? The toxic chemicals will destroy our water, forests, rural farms, our farming communities, and wildlife… To have passed a “temporary moratorium” on fracking (which will expire April 2011) is just a way of confusing those of us who are not closely following. What has to happen is a thorough cost analysis — and a change in our hearts, minds and lifestyles that we will never forget. Watch this 12-min short that brings Native/Indigenous voices to the forefront of this issue:
    The Unfractured Future

  19. Dissatisfied with the candidates on your ballot?

    Write in a. a name of your choosing or b. Josh Fox

    Nov. 3 Marcellus Protest in Pittsburgh:

  20. Thanks for posting this video, Tracy. I’ve shared it on my FB page.I have friends and family in New York State, and have talked with them about fracking. Only a few seem to really get how devastating it is.

  21. Inj 2004, Mr. Cheney developed an energy strategy for the US by meeting with oil and gas men behind closed doors. Shortly therafter, a Republican Congress and President voted to remove oil and gas industries from assessment by the EPA and expempted them from the clean water and air regulations. We need to expand our energy policies and practices at personal and national levels, and we need to rememember which political party has espoused pursuit and developement of terribly toxic energy.
    Is cheap but ultimately fatal energy affordable?
    Consider this: those in favor of developing gas and oil oppose increase in health availability, both in terms of insurance and research. Make us sick and let us die. At least they are consistant.

  22. I thought the tar sands in Alberta were bad, until I read this! Is there no stopping the greed anymore? Where has all the common sense of our government leaders gone? I think it’s high time we all march on our governments until they listen to reason.

  23. New York state is broke–we need the revenue gas companies would bring in. And as a sidenote–just maybe if the farmers would receive a decent price for the food they produce-they wouldn’t have to lease their land just to stay in business. In this area they say no to everything–from Madison Square Gardens, softball fields to windmills–It’s either grow or die and this area is dying fast.

  24. There are alternatives for fossil fuel and we must accelerate the implementation of efficiency (our most effective and least costly method) to reduce the demand side of the sheet by about 80% from current (US) levels. This reduction in demand should be implemented in tandem with support for implementation of a variety of renewable sources of energy to fill in the remaining 20% of demand.
    There are no alternatives to water, so any technology (like fracking) that irrevocably pollutes groundwater should be prohibited, regardless of the possible gain gas supply, corporate profits or state tax revenues.
    Affected communities should look into having a session of the “Democracy School” in your area to alert the citizens to the power they have to control what goes on in their municipalities. Dozens of communities in central PA have passed laws that prohibit dumping of toxic waste by corporations and have done so by defining corporations as “non-human” and (therefore) not entitled to any protections of the US constitution (such as the Interstate Commerce clause). Perhaps the same strategy can be applied to this situation. More information at

  25. I made a mistake on the web address for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. The correct address is:

  26. I have been supporting the “No Fracking in NY” Facebook page from the start. I know folks in Pennsylvania who have been afflicted by “fracking”. I hope that we can all stick together and stop the fracking in NY before the water supply of 12 million people in the NY/NJ area are without clean water. I have contributed to the Catskill Clean Energy website. I have sent petitions to our representatives. What else can we do to make sure this doesn’t destroy our environment and our physical well-being?

  27. Good news for all you folks that do not have an alternative for natural gas! There is a glut of gas in inventory, like a 75 year reserve!

    We can stop drilling now and have plenty of time to create new safe technologies to extract our gas from under ground. In fact the gas trapped under ground will safely wait for us to get it right. Rather than poison our environment getting it all now, lets leave some for our kids to get later and with cleaner technologies they will develop!

  28. There is another side of this horrific plague,
    Our family may not want to be involved in this massive control of mineral rights to your property BUT if 60% of a certain area near your property is signed up for mineral rights leasing, they can take the gas from beneath your property anyway.

  29. To y’all:
    do you realize the thousands of gallons of “Potable” that means clean water that is needed to drill one well, per day???

    This water is usless and gone forever from our safe access for drinking.

    sucked from our rivers, lakes and ponds, never to be returned to us….how much are y’all willing to pay for fresh water for your selves, family, and livestock.The cost of clean water will be deferred to us from food processing that needs water to produce. Virtually all foods will cost more due to filtration and or distillation plants.

    One Gas Drilling company responded with “Let them take the water from the air”…while he rakes in the profits from the FREE water that used to be one of our
    God Given rights.

  30. This is very scary news indeed. I am wondering what kind of grassroots organizing is being worked on to notify our legislators that this is NOT the alternative we want to sustain our dependence on energy consumption. Any ideas where to connect with a project like that? I would like to get my children’s school social action project linked to a project that will help us move away from toxic alternatives like this one.

  31. Very well-written article. I look forward to your presentation, “Living Downstream”,October 13th 7pm (6pm potluck) at the Park Church in Elmira. My only point of disagreement is the “couple million gallons” of water per well is closer to 5.6 million approximately (stated by Chesapeake Oil).

  32. OK. No gas stove for me.
    Ouch. That hurts as it’s my dream but this is way too big. Gotta walk the talk.
    Well then, what about flying around on those big jets??? that’s a no no of sorts…maybe a big cut back is in store.
    I haven’t even finished the article and I’m totally impacted by all the implications here.
    Thank you, thank you for your diligence in making this information available – foundit on facebook.

  33. The problems associated with obtaining Natural Gas from Hydraulic Fracturing of shale or condensed sand is a pretty simple issue. “PROFIT vs the Common Good”. It took a company with the political and industrial pull of Halliburton to develop this Gas Drilling technique…Why? A certain amount of “cover up” and “drag your butt” technique was needed to slip this past the “Common Folk”.
    If this method of drilling was developed with the plan of an environmentally safe outcome there would not be sufficient profit to induce all the “Hoopla” that it has received. If there were proper precautions and planning to create little impact to the land, air, fresh water bodies and oceans, it would not be profitable. With the correct sanctions and laws to protect our streams, rivers, artisan wells, from miss use and some shameful contamination in the future, the profit would be reduced. With the correct enforcement of toxic waste abatement and the guaranteed containment of theses known toxins at the drill site (and afterwards) the profit would be minimal. If the cost of extracting Gas in this method included the cost of properly and conscientiously abating the huge amounts of toxic chemicals created in this process, the procedure would not be profitable. If the cost of the drilling process included the cost of the eroded equipment caused by not using the toxins necessary to stop the erosion of the equipment…it would not be profitable.
    So these toxins are the constant waste product of the drilling process. Horrific chemicals are added to millions of gallons of water to protect the drilling equipment from erosion while drilling down into the shale and then “Pressure wash” the cracks and fissures so the gas can be released. Some of that once fresh water (and chemicals) is lost into the shale forever and the rest is placed in evaporation ditches lined with plastic. The water evaporates with some of the chemicals into our air and onto our trees and food crops. Animals ingest the chemical dust that blows from the vats edges. People breathe in the dust and chemicals in the air. People and livestock and wildlife are exposed to various degrees of methane, and many other toxic chemicals. The un burnt Gas that is bubbling out of the nearby rivers and streams (that can be lit like a propane torch)ends up damaging the ozone layer as it travels through the air.
    Although the Politicians are seduced with the promise of “many jobs” (it is a known fact that most of the employees of the drilling companies are trained for this particular trade. These persons follow the company to various drill sites and uproot their families to accompany them as well). These jobs may register as “New” in that county that has the latest site, but really many of them are just “imported persons with existing jobs”.
    The Politicians and Business owners are seduced with the promise of growing small towns only to suffer increased debts and taxes. With fast temporary growth comes the destruction of streets, fresh water, bridges, the entire infrastructure. Thousands of noisy, heavy laden trucks spewing gaseous fumes throughout the day wear out the Highways and asphalt throughout the towns. Schools, Libraries, Hospitals etc. are overburdened and expanded while the drilling is on and then abandoned after the nearby drilling sites are exhausted.
    This is a basic simple problem of “PROFIT vs the Common Good “and should be “BANNED”until regulations can catch up to the dangers incurred by this terrible way to extract gas from the earth.

  34. This entire article and that gasland “documentary” gave me an aneurysm.

    Firstly hydrofacture, including that of the Marcellus Shale, cannot contaminate your aquifers. Even the shallowest sandstones being fractured in Pennsylvania are 1500ft below surface level, it has to be that deep or the pressure will be to low for the well to “rock up”, resulting in low pressure in the gas pipeline and a lack of flow along the line. Your potable water is from no more than 300 ft below surface level. Any fracture induced in the gas bearing formations cannot propagate upward into your aquifers. If fracture does propagate upward it will be stopped by the bed above the formation being hydrofacted because the horizon between two different beds of rock is a plane of weakness. The fracture will propagate along that plane. To reach your potable water let alone the surface the fracture would have to pass hundreds of these bedding planes, not to mention that that no fracture has the kinetic energy to propagate 1000 ft. Also you already have saline brine contaminated by Barium salts, Cesium, and heavy metals just below your “fresh water aquifers”. These saline aquifers are full of meteoric(rain) water that has seeped through the rock over hundreds or thousands of years and dissolved salts and metals from the rock above as it moved through.

    Secondly the vast majority of water used in the hydrofracing process immediately comes back up the bore hole and is deposited into a double plastic lined(PA State Regulation) pit. This water is then pumped back into trucks for disposal at a brine treatment plant were it is allowed to evaporate in another plastic lined pit. And no, there is no chemical used in the clay/check or slicking agent that has a low enough vaporization pressure that it can evaporate and pollute the air. The pits also have a fence and usually a bird net so animals don’t drink from them. Any frac fluid that remains in the formation will be captured by the brine tank at the well site along with any water produced by the well. According to state and federal regulations you cannot dump frac fluids or gas well water, it has to be taken to a treatment facility. The casing is cemented directly into the rock and plugs all pore space surrounding the well bore.

    There will always be 800 feet of steel pip and a cement casing surrounding a well bore, this is specifically to prevent any gas or fluid from leaking into the water table. Although this itself is unlikely since the gas will flow toward the area of lowest pressure, ie the wellhead(which is at atmospheric pressure) rather than into the aquifer which is under at least several dozen Bars of pressure.

    You may not drill within 300 feet of a well or 600 feet of a surface water source in the State of Pennsylvania. This is to ensure against contamination.

    In the gasland documentary one individual had gas dissolved in his well water. Since this is unlikely to be leaking from the well even if it had a cracked casing This is likely to be coal bed methane. It is possible that during the drilling they encountered a thin vein of coal and the gas from the coal bed is traveling up into his reservoir if the coal directly underlies his reservoir and the case is somehow cracked at that exact point. Note that under State law contamination of potable water through unexpected equiment failure during drilling is a finable offense unless an alternative supply is provided at the gas extractor’s expense. I you are concerned about this companies will gladly sign a contract to drill as many water wells as you require before you lease your property for drilling. This is a very common procedure.

    Another individual interviewed in “Gasland” displayed the classic symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning. It is likely that her residence is on top of a strip mine, deep mine, or unmined coal bed that is undergoing oxidation. She can have a fan duct intstalled in her basement or understory at State expense to alleviate this problem. The fan can vent her carbon dioxide during periods of high temperature so that the heat inversion does not trap the C02 in her house.

    For Dorothea Poggi
    Contamination of streams by methane seeps is common in Pennsylvania. Streams often erode into coal beds.

    There are valid concerns about the amount of water needed to fracture the Marcellus shale(10^6 gallons), especially if the water is with drawn from local streams with low monthly flow. That is why many counties in Pennsylvania are have capped monthly with drawls from certain streams, since they are very protective of their trout streams. Likewise do to the size of Marcellus well sites(necessary for the number of pumping and water trucks that need to be parked) there must be increased erosion control measures like dirt nets and sedimentation screens to prevent sediment from adversely increasing the turbidity of nearby streams.

    There are concerns with gas extract, and they have been well known for decades, but none have anything to do with hydrofracturing.

  35. We, in Québec are looking your way. A month ago no Quebecers knew about this. Then we heard about dismal rights to drill given in the last 2 years to gas companies. In a public relation stunt, those private companies are, only now, organizing meetings which almost turn into riots. Quebec government had no choice but to organize BAPE public hearings, (Bureau D’Audiences Publiques en Environnement) which produce a respected unbiased enquiry report. But the government, at its risk, can go forward despites a BAPE recommendations againt a project.

  36. Maybe when God locked that gas down under the ground He knew what He was doing. Maybe we should respect that.

  37. At some point, it’s imperative that those citizens wishing to have safe living conditions be accorded equal respect to those who would plunder our birthright, poison our wells for profit, and cast the blame on the victims.

    Having more power doesn’t make one more righteous.

  38. @anon2 “And the mighty then cleft the mountains asunder, laid waste to the land, cast oil upon the oceans, and fouled grievously our great bounteous mother earth.”

  39. to: Anyfreeman

    If man endures, what difference does it make?

    It is better to be gods of the wastes then worms of the rich soil.

  40. anon2
    Gods of the wastes seems like a definition of the type of hubris that conflates mankind’s worst termite qualities with ‘mastery” and “creation”. Unless I missed the memo, each and all of us end with the worms of the rich soil.

    The question is whether that soil will indeed remain rich…

  41. … and whether we will recognize the “man” that endures amid natural devastation as anything human. Etymology — that is, the root of our culture and our thinking — recognizes the close relationship of humus and human.

  42. Sorry! The OED does not support (now that I look it up) this folk etymology. And my impulse to conflate Human and humus is naive optimism. The human is the self-directed, self-centered, acquisitive and careless as much or more than it is the ecologically sensitive and humble. Excuse my haste.

  43. The problem in New York is that there is literally no place to put the “flowback” from the frack. No treatment facilities, no disposal wells. In fact the closest disposal well that will take flowback is in Ohio, and charges 20 cents a gallon to pump it down a hole. The Marcellus in New York has been tested to particularly rich in radium. So horizontal hydrofracking of shale is not a good idea for New York any time soon.

  44. Oh, no problem, James, they’ll just dump it all in the Susquehanna and let it flow unhampered down through Pennsylvania and Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay and out to sea. It’s probably not even in their plans to “store” hazardous waste water when they have a free river to destroy! The fish are already being killed in the Susquehanna, I’ve heard from friends in PA. If we don’t stop them they will destroy all our rivers & streams.

  45. James Northrup
    Actually since the Marcellus producer usually only owns the deep mineral rights while another owns the shallow mineral rights, they are planning on injecting the frac fluid into old shallow wells(~2000ft) as a kind of water flooding. Basically the old wells that have withdrawn the gas from their reserviors are used to inject water into the reservoir, driving gas to other wells and increasing there total production volume and lifetime. This lets the Marcellus producer get rid off their frac water, while making a little money and helping a shallow gas producer by providing a cheap water flood.

    There were some concerns that the clay from the Marcellus shale could clog the pores of sandstone reservoirs, a process know as “fines migration”. But the clay/check solution they and to prevent fines migration when fracturing the Marcellus also prevents it from occuring in the sandstones. They are already doing this in McKean Co. Pennsylvania.

    Also radon is already a common contaminant in shallow gas produced from sandstones. It and propane are separated from the methane at distribution points by a density separation process. And radon is constantly given off by the shales found in the ground of Pennsylvania and New York, hence the imporatance of getting a radon detector for your basement. The total amount of radon added to the atmosphere by gas production is currently 0.1% of the amount of natural radon that seeps out of the ground in Pennsylvania everyday. So it’s not a significant atmospheric contaminant.

    The primary concern when fracing the Marcellus is the amount of water needed, which could complication water use polices during periods of drought unless water is stockpiled during the winter months for the fracing procedure.

  46. For anyone who thinks this is ok…. we have alternatives to natural gas; we can live without it. However, we can not live without water. My wife and I stop one of these companies from coming into our homes. It was amazing how many lies they told to try and get people to sign.

  47. A Chinese oil exploitaion company, CNOOC Ltd., just agreed to pay more than $1Billion for 33% interest in an oil shale project in Texas.

    If one had any question regarding the “protection” of our natural resources, think about the implications this signals.

  48. Thanks everyone for your comments. Want to continue the discussion in real time?

    Then please plan to join Sandra Steingraber, the author of this piece, and Orion staffers for a live discussion of the thorny environmental and human health implications of ‘fracking’ on October 27th. More information and call-in details:

    Hope you can join us!

    Erik, Orion magazine

  49. Erik,

    Please correct the date on this post, and on your outgoing email for Sandra Steingraber’s call-in….

  50. I saw Gaslands at a local theater in central PA (State College), and am extremely concerned about the tremendous environmental damage –past, present and future– of fracking. Everything written in the article is also demonstrated in that documentary. The scariest aspect is that the damage could persist for decades and will NOT be easily reversed. How can we get our friends, neighbors AND legislators to recognize that the damage caused by fracking will be far more costly than the benefits of the natural gas? We MUST learn to pay more for our energy AND to decrease our use of energy. Even ‘green energy’ sources have some problems. Humans cannot continue to use the amount of energy that we have been consuming. That is the bottom line.

  51. Scary stuff, but when “It’s all about the money,” seems that polluting our water supplies means nothing.

    The key term in the article – “International investors”.

    Landowners are simply being used as pawns and bought off for what amounts to peanuts by mega-Corporate in their endless pursuit to increase their bottom line.

    Those who think they are simply leasing mineral rights to these LLC’s are in for a rude awakening when they not only pollute their water supply, but also turn their idyllic countrysides into 24/7 construction/truck zones for the rest of their lives.

    It’s often times hard to fathom, but it seems people will do anything for a buck these days without giving a second thought to the consequences of their actions.

  52. i live in fayette county pa ilived here for 45years five years ago our lives has changed .when the gas industy put a compressor station and two marcellus wells just 250ft away from me my neihgbors put this in .i could not stop them no matter what i done . now we sufer the sickness that comes with these two things that took over our lives .my daughter and i sit and cry at night when the choldren go to bed so they wont see the hurt it caused us .the childre suffer from headache burning throats bones hurting and a rash the doctors cant cure . why was this left happen to us . the noise from the compresor station sounds like a train going around the house but never stops my grand ghildren in the last 3years scream when they talk to you its the noise that they leve with every day .you cant move when you spent every thing you had on the place you call home .this is what we our forced to live with at times my daughter says mom i wish god would take us from this place the days our harder to get up to. iam afraid the gas is going to put us asleep one of these nights we allready had tow scares from the gas wells so pray for us to be set free form this place we call hell. like governor ridge said the gas industy is going any where .get used to it . only he doesnt live this life with us he has the means to get away .ill leave you with this dont let the gas industy move in and take your life and destory what god gave all of us to enjoy .

  53. I live in Susquehanna County, PA, which used to be the poorest county in the state and is now expected to be the richest because of the aggressive fracking of Marcellus Shale. What breaks my heart and infuriates me is the denial: wealthy owners of second homes up here insisting to one another that this desecration of the Earth and threat to all life will bring about jobs… or they proudly insist that THEY will be drilling horizontally, not vertically, as if an invisible poison is better than a visible one. Pennsylvania cares only about money, not life, not land.

  54. Thank you Trebbe Johnson, for your thoughts about hydro-fracking… You live in a beautiful place, and it’s sad to hear that you have to watch it being abused. The beautiful, peaceful river that your county is named for is also being attacked, and I feel your pain. My mother’s family came to Columbia County before the Revolutionary War, and love for those “Endless Mountains” is in my bones. I live in New York, because Mom’s family moved away because in the 1920’s there were no jobs, but our “home” will always be in NE Pennsylvania, or, “Penn’s Woods”. I’m sorry you have to witness this destruction, and I hope that New Yorkers will stick together and not let it happen to our Catskills and our beautiful lakes and streams upstate. Your voice is heard here in New York. It’s sad that it wasn’t heard in your state.

  55. To those who defend hydraulic fracturing for whatever reasons I say to you that you are either incredibly naive or incredibly uneducated.

    We can live without natural gas and oil. We cannot survive without clean air and clean water. By 2012, fracking will consume somewhere on the order of 48-500 BILLION gallons of fresh water per year than can NEVER be used again by humans, animals or plants due to excessive contamination by toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that science has shown no solution for purifying. That water is lost forever at a time when fresh water sources are scarce and getting more so by the day.

    We only have one environment – when we destroy it, then we make ourselves extinct as a species, and we will be relegated to the fate of the dinosaurs.

    I understand the need for cheap, domestic energy, but I do not buy into the idiocy of killing our planet and all of its inhabitants for the sake of natural gas just because it is cheap and it is here. That sort of myopic thinking is precisely why those supporting fracking do so without a concern or understanding of what this industry does to quality of life, health, property values, water, air and soil purity and the very survival of humans as a species on this planet.

  56. Hear, hear, Mark McCord! Well said! If only this common sense could be communicated to our legislators.

  57. I live in North Eastern Pennsylvania where the Marcellus Shale industry has leased land all around me. I am passionate about the environmental issues resulting from natural gas extraction, however I seem to be in the minority in my own neighborhood.
    People have leased their land for the almighty dollar and are keeping their heads in the sand regarding the real dangers of fracking. I did my best to educate myself and my neighbors, however, the land lease agents “talk a good talk” and people up here believe what they are being told is the truth. It is far from the truth. Thank you for being straight forward regarding the process of fracking and the real dangers that this presents.

  58. Marie, I’m sorry that your voice was not heard when it came to the drilling by the frackers. That was the fault of the state government. Allowing them to drill without regulation and to override the wishes of those who didn’t agree was unconstitutional according to the PA Constitution. In NY, we’re hoping that our legislators will do what’s right and strictly regulate and protect our forests and our water supply. Our new Attorney General is stepping up to the plate and says he supports a ban on drilling until it is “proven safe”. That’s not quite 100%, but at least he has given us partial support when others won’t even commit to that much. I hope we will be able to keep the drillers at bay.

  59. When the legislators, regulators and officials responsible for our health safety and security report to their corporate ‘benefactors’ and ‘sponsors’ you get results like this.

    All y’all can moan and wail all ya want about lack of response and so on, but until you either can buy them for more money, or demonstrate unity and coherence, y’all will be drinking methane.

    That’s the state of the union, buds.

  60. If you missed the conference call on fracking for gas with Sandra Steingraber that Orion hosted recently, you can hear the full audio here, any time, just click on the link under October 27, 2010:

    A number of good ideas and resources were shared, plus the author gave us a reading from her forthcoming book relative to fracking, which was really great.


  61. It pertains mostly to Texas and the Barnett Shale, but there is also nationwide coverage of frac’ing issues on the new website i just put on-line at

    Text and video content is welcome and will be appreciated. I want this website to be a clearinghouse for frac’ing information and resources.

  62. Dear Eric, Thank you for the link to the program about “fracking” and its effects on upstate NY and NYC’s water supply. I have sent a link to the program to all my friends and to former associates at MetLife who belong to our MetLife Veterans Association. I hope they will all forward it to their friends, so that we can all benefit from the information provided by you and Ms.Steingraber.
    It has certainly added to my understanding of this situation, which I instinctively knew was a huge danger to our future well-being. Now I feel more qualified to discuss it on Facebook, where I support the “Don’t Frack with NY’s Water Supply” page.
    Ruth Cavanaugh, NYC Resident

  63. Thank you for clearly laying out the horror that fracking creates.

    Now we have to get everyone engaged in the issue.

    We need a poster child for the health effects of fracking.

    People can be moved out of passivity when they see the threat to their children and grandchildren.

  64. If anyone believes that pouring toxic chemicals into the ground, and disrupting the shale formation is a good idea, perhaps the millions of acre feet of water polluted forever – per well! may shake the belief the oil companies have residents’ safety and well being in mind.

  65. I have been an active environmentalist mostly through education for the past 25 years. I used to be a birder with Theo Colburn in Colorado before she wrote her book our stolen future. What she wrote was horrible but you could protect yourself to some extent. What you are talking about is insidious because we don’t know where it is and there is no way to protect yourself. This is the one that I think every environmental group should take to the mat. We need a massive community to community educational effort.


    John Hamer

  66. So far, we have successfully stopped XTO Energy from getting gas well permits for Dallas, and we are hopeful that the city will vote a 6-month moratorium against issuing any drilling permits at the January City Council meeting.

    Just a couple of days ago the EPA issued a substantial and imminent hazardous warning of potential explosions at homes in Parker County, Texas because of a contaminated aquifer and at least two private water wells. This issue arose in August, but to this day neither Texas Commission on Environmental Quality nor the Texas Railroad Commission (which is responsible for all oil and gas drilling and production in the state) has seen fit to act in the interest of citizens who are threatened.

    There is a link to the story on my website at, along with a video showing fire shooting from a water hose like a flame thrower. Of course, Range Productions, the drilling company, is claiming that nothing they did caused this methane migration into the aquifer even though no problems ever occurred until after they fracked a nearby well.

    Communities need to band together and fight this intrusion into our health and safety because there is strength in numbers. And, for the sake of ALL humans, animals, plants, the environment and the planet STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN!

    These problems can be directly traced to the Republican attitude of supporting big oil and gas over the welfare of citizens because oil and gas are huge GOP contributors, and the GOP has placed their own people in positions of management and administration rather than staffing those positions with professional people who understand the issues and take an objective approach to safe drilling, production and delivery.

  67. Responding to comment #71 (Marc W. McCord),
    You made some great comments and they were worth reading, until you brought your political views into the discussion. This is an environmental issue, not a political campaign. There is plenty of support from Republicans as well as Democrats and other parties. I am not a Democrat, and I have been fighting alongside others to ban hydrofracking here in NY for nearly two years. We do have support from both sides, although it is a constant battle trying to get some of them to see past the piles of oil & gas money being thrown at them. If you do any real research into the matter, you will find that the current administration has hugely supported and made deals with the oil and gas industry all along, not to mention their exemption from regulations, and is now (actually the day after midterm elections) claiming to go forward with natural gas exploration, (drilling/hydrofracking) all in the name of bipartisanship. I hope you are successful in the fight to ban hydrofracking in Texas, because we over here in NY are learning a great deal everyday, as we read about the alarming number of violations, accidents, and devastation spreading from coast to coast, as a result of the toxic fracking road to clean energy. If you feel that one party or another is to blame, then I would suggest that you write, call, email, and see them in person, talk to them and not at them, and provide them with the facts that prove your case. Be Well.

  68. Responding to “72”, I agree that there are SOME Republicans who oppose frac’ing, just as there are SOME Democrats and other liberals who support it, but I stand by my statements based on historical fact.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005, written by Dick Cheney and the O&G industry, gutted environmental protections under about 7 different federal laws including, but not limited to, the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

    I acknowledge that Obama is a coward on this issue, and I have dressed him down over his insane stance on this issue.

    Here in Texas, it was all George W. Bush and Rick Perry who stacked the deck with Republicans at TCEQ and TRC to give the O&G industry a free reign in killing people, destroying property and polluting the air, water and soil for the sake of corporate profits. It was not done at the behest of liberals or Democrats.

    I do not claim that all liberals are against frac’ing, or that all conservatives are in favor of it, but the vast majority of conservatives hate environmentalists and liberals, and have supported drilling in every one of the 34 states where it is happening while the vast majority of liberals have stood against frac’ing unless and until it can be proven safe.

    You damn right I brought my political views into this discussion. Until people give up there cowardly affliction of refusing to discuss the political ramifications nothing is going to change.

    I am happy that NY is taking steps to limit Marcellus Shale production, and I hope that you are successful, but please do not try to pretend that a great number of conservatives favor that moratorium because we both know that is not true.

    This IS a political issue with dire environmental consequences. It should NOT be a political issue, but it is, and I am not the one who made it that way. I am merely pointing out the facts. I am sorry if the truth hurts, but that’s too bad!

    Instead of jumping me, try jumping your conservative friends who support “Drill, Baby, Drill”.

  69. Historically, we have rushed into exploiting resources without fully understanding the consequences. This has resulted in extremely negative consequences, most often but not always unevenly apportioned. This has been the traditional playground for the discussions related to use/abuse of our environment. If you drain the river, kill all the flora and fauna, and leave nothing – the ecosystem can no longer sustain one. It is this effort to understand the balance that has informed our previous three generations of citizens interested in living in reality, and understanding how to live smaller, not larger.
    However, as the discourse becomes less about understanding our situation, and more vehemently about brute privilege and influence, a dangerous toxin is running through the body politic – and it’s driving the country crazy. The fracking situation is a case in point. This has the symptoms of a classic political influenza, where the victims are demonized, where the resource extractors and exploiters’ progress and survival are somehow conflated with the greater good. This is suicidal. We must stop this heedless headlong dive into poisoning our politics along with our watershed, forestry and rivers.

    Corporations are not people. Stop the madness.

  70. “This has the symptoms of a classic political influenza, where the victims are demonized, where the resource extractors and exploiters’ progress and survival are somehow conflated with the greater good.”

    Well said, Mr. Freeman.

    The same mad rush that we are seeing with the hydrofracking situation has occurred with the push for industrial wind. Instead of relying on the scientific method, our energy decisions are being based on where the biggest money is in it for the multi-national developers — whose political lobbyists have bought the legislation that will best suit their bottom line.

    Here in NYS, NYSERDA told us straight out that industrial wind is “a political agenda that has been handed down to them from Washington & Albany,” making it very clear that “it’s all about the money” — the environment, economics, and science be damned.

    And by the way, Mr. McCord, your assumptions are VERY wrong. While I hate to associate myself with any party these days (as I think they are both mired in corruption), I am a pretty conservative person – as are most of the many folks here in WNY who have been battling both the hydrofracking and industrial wind mega-corporate attacks on us, and our environment, for years now.

  71. Every day brings more proof that the leadership in this nation watched the Sopranos for leadership lessons.

    However, the Sopranos were small fry in comparison to the institutionalized ‘pay for play’ of our current landscape. Look across the terrain at captive think tanks, hostage research centers, privatized prisons, mercenary armies, to professional lobbies that buy elections, and impose their fracking agendas at will.

  72. Mr. Barton,

    I am glad that you are conservative AND opposed to frac’ing. In Western NY State you may not be an anomaly, but in the nation as a whole I can assure you that you ARE rare. Most conservatives in this nation are a lot closer to Sarah “Drill Baby, Drill” Palin than to those who favor protecting the natural environment.

    Need I remind you of the Energy Policy Act of 2005? That piece of work was the product of Dick Cheney and his buddies in the energy industry. It was passed by a Republican-controlled US Congress and signed into law by a Republican president. Even if all Democrats, Obama included, had voted against it, the bill would STILL have passed on the strength of conservative support, and that is the larger case nationwide.

    I realize that the truth hurts you, and I am sorry for that, but I am NOT wrong about this, and I defy you to show ANY proof that I am. It is a claim that you and “72” falsely make because you do not want to accept the truth.

    If conservatives did not want frac’ing, then we would not have it, and it surely would not have been exempted from the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drink Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the National Energy Policy Act (NEPA) and other safeguards put in place to protect our natural environment.

    While there are small pockets where a few conservatives oppose frac’ing, the fact remains that in most areas conservatives overwhelmingly approve of the technique and process. Your mistake is in assuming that the attitude of conservatives where you live is representative of the entire nation, and it most assuredly is not!

  73. Mr. McCord,

    Again, you are wrong — The truth does not hurt me at all. Only the truth will set us free.

    The party argument is right where the progressive elites would like well-intended citizens to stay focused. Both sides are guilty of pushing ridiciulous political agendas, and it’s money and power that are guiding their decisions.

    While President Obama and his Democratic majority were busy initiating the drilling moratorium in the Gulf, they were simultaneously giving billions to Venezuala (where an oil company backed by George Soros would profit handsomely) to drill off South American shores in even deeper waters. How do you reconcile that with your argument that it’s all a Conservative/Republican pushed issue?

  74. Anybody see a hint of self-righteousness?? Maybe both sides would benefit if they noticed it.

  75. The point exactly — both sides are guilty. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

  76. No, my point is not that the truth lies in the middle. That may or may not be the case. The point is that we cannot talk with each other while defending to the death what we KNOW is the case. And it’s not “Stop! You’re both right.” (Remember Certs?) more like Stop–each of McCord seems most egregiously caught in this trap. He says he’s leaving this conversation, but if he’s still listening, maybe he would notice that he has an expectation and a conviction that color everything he hears.

  77. That’s “Stop – each of you is blind and deaf to the other.”

  78. Again, we are presented with more false choices, promoted by those who profit while limiting their civic stewardship.
    I speak for many when I speak to the bewilderment of attempting balance. It’s not an American habit – where we are conditioned to laud winners and scorn losers, where many difficult decisions about finite resources are framed as the haves vs the have-nots.
    Unfortunately, and tragically, we are being sold a bill of goods while rapacious treasonous corporations plunder our birthright and rob the public trust in too many ways to tabulate.

    Seven million US jobs have disappeared during this greed and gluttony festival produced by the freemarketeers. Real wages for workers have stagnated, and gone backward in too many ways to enumerate. This is what’s wrong with our society – when only a few can flourish, and the rest are consigned to roles of remora in the shark tank, evolution ceases, and revolution breeds.

  79. Here in Quebec, a majority of poeple is against the way our Charest government jumped on the fracking bandwagon behind our back.

    Opinion leaders ask for a moratoriom, as you did in NYS, so we see first how you are experiencing this whole thing…Then when natural gas price goes up we would still have all our reserves available and benefit from our south-of-the-border neighbours experiments;-)

    It goes to show…

  80. As I learned through my experience in the “Democracy School”, co-founded by Thomas Linzey at The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (See:, laws which deny corporations from claiming “personhood” in the many communities that have already instituted them, ARE WORKING to protect the rights of these communities to make their own decisions.

    With the knowledge and guidance garnered from Mr. Linzey at the Democracy School, below is the course of action I have been recommending at local Public Hearings to our Town & Planning boards. It is going to take many folks waking up and getting involved if we hope to make these kind of changes happen within our respective communities! If you can attend a CELDF ‘Democracy School’ in your area, I would highly recommend it!

    12/14/10 comments at Town of Perry Planning Board Public Hearing regarding restructuring Local Law:

    “My greatest concern however, is that the entanglement of corporations and their lobbyists within our government at the State and Federal levels is far more than most of us could ever believe to be real. The State is passing laws every day that nullify or pre-empt the wishes of local communities in favor of corporate concerns. This could happen here in NYS if Governor-elect Cuomo pursues Article X – as he has stated he wishes to do. Article X would eradicate Home Rule in our State.

    I am most concerned therefore, that no matter what law we may be talking about, our power to decide for ourselves may be due for inevitable attack. No matter what side of the fence any of us are on about any issue, I’m sure we can all agree that keeping our basic rights and freedoms of self-governance under Home Rule is imperative!

    In order to do our best to protect Home Rule and the right to determine our own affairs as we see fit within our communities, I am hoping that the Board will consider the following suggestion, in whatever wording they deem appropriate, not only as an addition to the industrial wind law, but perhaps also as what actually may be a more effective safeguard – a stand-alone, binding general law.

    The law could be stated something like this:
    The Town of Perry has the absolute right to refuse to recognize Constitutional rights which were intended for individuals who are citizens of the United States, by and for any and all corporations seeking to claim “personhood” in our Town in order to usurp Home Rule and our rights of self-governance in pursuit of corporate gain. Corporations are not people, and therefore can not claim the rights intended for people, and bestowed upon us by our Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, & Constitution, as citizens of these United States.”

  81. I’m not sure if there are any environmentalist/science fiction buffs on this thread, besides me…but…for anyone who has seen Battlestar Galactica, the whole fracking discussion is a double entendre.

    See the first minute or so of this remarkably relevant compendium from Battlestar Galactica,
    (alert: TV-14 rating)

  82. I spent ten years working in the petroleum industry on drilling rigs and in the communities in which they existed prior to purchasing a farm and becoming involved in the sustainable agriculture movement. I’ve experienced drilling fluids eating through heavy clothing, dissolving leather off steel-toed Red Wings and leaving painful rashes and welts on bare skin. I’ve been on wells that have “kicked”, burping hundreds of barrels of drilling fluids across the job site that resulted in killing every shred of vegetation it touched and taking the paint of vehicles. I find it utterly shameful that energy companies are preying on farmers and very depressing that farmers are selling out the environment for a few extra dollars in this lifetime.

  83. to >89 Sandra Kay Miller
    thanks for your perspective. I find it remarkable, perhaps criminally short sighted that we continue to allow oil companies and their minions to dictate to us that we have to accept crappy jobs and eat poison. It’s a BIZARRE world where ruining the air and water, clear cutting and poisoning our citizenry has been cleverly repackaged as ‘progress’.

    We witnessed equivalent ‘double-speak’ in East Germany, and their outcome is looking eerily congruent to the direction we are heading…

  84. I am an organic farmer and avid environmentalist. I am also a believer in facts, and have seen too many disaster pronouncements by well meaning, but completely clueless extreme so called environmentalists over the last 40 or so years to not comment on this latest apocalyptic scare.
    While I have my entire farm heated with wood gassification and geothermal units and operate a vermaculture and composting operation, we still need supplemental energy. Most others in our society need a lot more than we do, and it has to come from somewhere.
    Many of the alternative sources are nascent and will take many years to have a significant impact on our national usage while others are simply nice sounding but counter productive hocus pocus (ethanol probably being the most notable foolishness)
    I have found it disturbing that nearly every alternative energy source has environmental critics.
    Solar – Manufacturing solar cells creates toxic chemicals and storage batteries are equally bad.
    Wind – Ugly and kills the birds
    Hydro – kills the fish and disrupts spawning
    Nuclear – We can’t have another 3 mile island
    We have a choice. We can focus on producing as much domestic energy we can in a regulated, and enforced manner, or we can simply continue to import our energy needs from countries that are far less concerned with the earth and what they do to it. Many of the countries that fuel the world are not only environmental disasters, but also dictatorships and the home of terrorists.
    Don’t condemn fracking till we know it causes new problems and don’t just ban something because it may be a problem. We have the science to analyze issues like this and base our decisions on facts, not hyperbole. There are too many people that can’t see the forest for the trees and find it easier to condemn something rather than analyze the issue in an unbiased fashion.

    Ok, That’s my rant.

  85. the experience most of us have seen – untested, unknown and potentially dangerous technologies/chemicals/ are forced into use.

    After introduction, it becomes more difficult to reverse. there are the entrenched interests, i.e. jobs to be protected, bribes to be earned out, etc.
    pregnant women are testing positive for DDT – 40 odd years after it was banned.

    what’s the hurry? since abundant evidence of regulatory capture and agency misfeasance, one can no longer trust the agencies to protect the public interest.

    in fact, we are required to be skeptical first, and if we err, to err on the side of preserving our earth first.

    The history of resource exploiters does not inspire or encourage trust.

  86. Note to # 91 Ron Stidmon: THANK YOU for a little sanity on this forum. Most of what I’ve been seeing so far has been baseless hysteria.

    Sooo….what I have been hearing from most of you is scrap gas drilling, stop burning hydrocarbons, no nukes, no hydroelectric dams…….lets all just turn our country in to a 3rd world crap hole and start living in caves. THAT is what most of you are proposing.

  87. most of the third world ‘crap holes’ i’ve visited usually have Chevron or BP running their resource policies.

    In fact, it’s impossible to arrest the global impact of our energy consumption at the border, or to point at China or India as an alibi for doing nothing.

    As we conclude our hottest and wettest year in history, perhaps less sneering and more hearing is appropriate.

  88. Nice try at diversion, Anyfreeman, but you didn’t address the real issue of this forum and my comment: Where do we get our energy? No gas, no coal, no nuke, no hydrocarbons, no hydro — I hope you are not going to tell me wind and solar because we are then back into the cave man discussion.

    As for the hottest years, I think you are still reading newspapers from the 90s. Go back another 30 years and you would be reading about the impending iceage.

  89. The interesting logical destination of the “post-peak oil” argument is very similar to the corporate bully boy line.

    Either we go along doing what we’re doing, and there’s an apocalyptic outcome, AKA societal collapse, where we end up in caves-OR
    The sinister forces of powerful “do-gooders” somehow inflict wimpy solar remedies on BP-lovin’ patriots, resulting in loss of freedom to extract oil from impossible sea depths, or by blasting the
    bedrock into toxic stew for obscene profits.
    Your choice- into the caves after the
    Apocalypse, or a slink back due to rampant nannyism.

    This would reduce this complex matrix of issues to disagreeing on “cave-blame.”
    While that is easier than addressing our shared obligations to consider these difficult problems intelligently, it is not yet a zero-sum equation.

    I respectfully point out that I am not advocating anything but that take care, exercise a full spectrum evaluation, factor in our ecological impact, and finally understand the full costs, the true costs, prior to locking policy and outcome apart from public use into private exploitation.

    Finally, I would say their is nohyperbole in questioning the wisdom of transferring the public trust, our life-sustaining drinking waters, over to the oil-soaked palms of
    profiteers. We know their motives, we’ve seen their tactics, and we are condemned to live in the tailings, among the slag, downwind from the aerial spraying, with generations of biphenols in our collective wombs. At the minimum, that has educated us on the necessity to understand the issues fully, prior to rushing headfirst into actions with potential negative repercussions.

  90. Well said, Anyfreeman! I am not a scientist, but I am a realist. We can live without natural gas, but we cannot live without clean water. To decide this question, all we have to look at is the devastation the profiteers have left in their wake. So, New York State can let the experiences of other states tell us what the right path should be. The name-calling and the ridicule doesn’t answer the question… We need to determine what is best for our children and grandchildren; NOT what is best for us here & now.

  91. >RCinNYC – thanks for your comment. I contend that we can no longer be passive, and believe that the attorneys and legislators will articulate the true best interest of the public good. The sorry situation of American politics is that we have the representation of the big dollar.
    Otherwise, the politicians that permitted big corporations to buy and bully their poisonous policies would truly be held accountable for outcomes.
    Not that I am an advocate, but in China, baby formula adulterers were executed, their ill-gotten gains clawed back, and their families humiliated. Harsh? Perhaps, but when some will abuse their position of trust for silver,
    they deserve our scorn and mistrust, not our loyalty or acceptance.

    I am saying be vigilant in NY, it’s the only aquifer you have.
    Methane is not good to drink.

  92. Quite a wordy response to my question anyfreeman, but unfortunately you avoided my question yet again. So, I’ll ask it yet again. “Nice try at diversion, Anyfreeman, but you didn’t address the real issue of this forum and my comment: Where do we get our energy? No gas, no coal, no nuke, no hydrocarbons, no hydro—I hope you are not going to tell me wind and solar because we are then back into the cave man discussion.”

  93. First- there is no correlation between my point, which is that the whole fracking industry was only made possible by a toxic confluence of dubious policy and regulatory capture.
    additionally- if there is proof that fracking is a beneficial bounty – absolutely harmless to our water supply, neutral in impact to our children and their developing in-vitro siblings, why won’t the corporations reveal the components of theirfracking fluids to those responsible to the citizenry for making safety determinations.
    then, I do not/nor have i ever taken the position attributed by Realpatriot that there is only the false choice of either “drill baby
    drill” or cave dwelling.
    my consistent position, which i repeat for the reality impaired is; what’s the hurry?
    the exemptions to regulatory oversight were passed in secret, the true cost of ownership can’t be calculated w/o knowing the ingredients.

  94. First of all, your statement that, “corporations [won’t] reveal the components of theirfracking fluids to those responsible to the citizenry for making safety determinations.” is yet another one of many of your untrue statements. All 500 plus chemicals are listed on the DEP website. Check it out.

    Second, fracking has a direct corelation to my question because America is very rapidly approaching an energy crisis, and fracking technology makes available a huge amount of one of the cleanest viable energy sources on the planet.

    So, since you obviously oppose virtually every known, viable energy source currently in use, let me ask you yet again for a straight up answer: “Nice try at diversion, Anyfreeman, but you didn’t address the real issue of this forum and my comment: Where do we get our energy? No gas, no coal, no nuke, no hydrocarbons, no hydro—I hope you are not going to tell me wind and solar because we are then back into the cave man discussion.”

    First of all, your statement that “

  95. Has anyone researched the death of all these birds and fish???
    If I was a bird that stopped on some huge utility wires down wind from a gas drilling site that was spewing out toxic fumes, I along with my hundred bird buddies may all fall from the sky a few minutes or hours later as the toxins did their dirty work through my small body. We would all die together.

  96. ‘caveman’ Central -approx ~2045A.D. Personally, I prefer natural lighting in my cave. For floor coverings, I prefer the headliners of large extinct SUVs, readily available in the mudflats that used to be the subdivisions, prior to the floods and mega-storms of the 2020 era of global climate upheaval.

    Fortunately, we have the solar panels on the top of the hill, with a great southwest exposure toward the old city, where we can still tune in radio broadcasts, during daylight hours. President Justin Bieber has issued a proclamation that we are still #1, despite the problems attendant with a country that is just three large islands, and no industry, law or infrastructure.
    “You should see the other guys!” he declared today. (Although we are starting to wonder if it is a taped presentation, since President Bieber has issued the same exact broadcast for the past three months). It’s so good we are still #1, although I don’t think the news has filtered down to the gangs in the flats.

  97. Gas that is shown bubbling out of river and streams that can be ignited….is also present throughout the surrounding landscape except you can not see it…..

    must stop all hydraulic Frackin”=’

    while trying to stop: Accountability legislation should be in place that makes Hydraulic Fracturing a “safe” method or a “do not use” method of obtaining Gas.

    All potable water used should be preciously priced, and filtered on site…and reused onsite with additional added for loss that is recorded and paid for damage to earth by not reclaiming all.
    all filtered toxins should be regulated and incapsulated on site and removed to proper disposal while still incapsulated?

    air and water quality should be checked before during and after drilling. All changes to the air should be charged to the company for not reclaiming the toxins.
    etc. etc.

    If it is too costly to respect the health of the planet, wildlife and humans for the gas companies to profit….
    then do not use this method …..and end of story.

  98. When asked the question….”Where do we get our energy from?”,
    I must comment that years ago I hooked a friend of mine up with the needed info to change his business from Hanging large electric signs to installing Solar Panels,. This is not a huge stretch by any means…he had the crew, the sub contracted licensed electricians, the booms, etc. After paying 300.00 for a course at Lehman College in the Bronx NY he was told to get his certification he would have to work under his teacher, (and make money for him)….then he might reach certification….

    My friend and I had already found suppliers of solar panels from Russia and other places that were quality approved etc. and for very little money. This whole solar thing is controlled and held back by “whoever”. There are people positioned to profit with huge percentages on the affordable technology. Making this Tech. un affordable without grants from the Government constructed with basically their suppliers etc….Shame on “whoever”, let’s cut the cra-p and give affordable Solar a chance.Open up the market to sign installer, electricians, Heating and Airconditioning companies,Alarm companiesEtc. They have the required training and equipment in place…they just need a course and and inspector…

  99. Dorothea, don’t take my word for it — check it out from various reputable sources: there simply isn’t enough energy in sunlight to meet even our most basic needs.

    In fact, the sun and wind combined cannot meet out basic needs.

    By “basic needs” I mean all the things that we all depend on: food, shelter, heat, clean water, abundant food, medical care (and all the technology involved in that) and the infrastructure to get it to where it needs to be.

    Honestly, I’m not trying to be argumentative and I’m certainly no friend of the gas company, but we would not be able to have this conversation without fossil fuel or nuke energy. Plain and simple.

  100. Anyfreeman, wise guy comments, but never any straight answers, huh?

    Real simple but crucial question: in your opinion, where should we get our energy for right now and the next 20 years?

    You are apparently all no-no-no. How about some solutions?

  101. .realpatriot – first, for the third time – and i want you to understand this – i never advocated a policy of no, no, no, which you would have understood if you were truly interested in a dialog, or in reading what is troubling to me about the rush to fracking.

    Insofar as attempting to have a dialogue – don’t think it’s possible, due to your repeated insistence on misrepresenting my position, twisting my statements, and failing to respond to my repeated posts about the inherent issues attendant with this forced march without discussion.

    It’s not a zero sum game. But to refute one of your favorite denialist points – there is enough energy from the sun to power all our needs. In fact, there are several substantial studies that each building receives sufficient sunlight to power all its needs, if only we could convert/capture/exploit it.

    I do not think there is only the one answer, but energy efficiency could reduce our oil dependency significantly – if we truly had an honest discussion about the parameters, details and engineering challenges.

    Honestly – and I mean this sincerely – until we all recognize the imperative nature of the crisis ahead, it will be too late while we spend our precious time arguing.

    Finally, the fact is that the past year was both the hottest and the wettest in recorded history. Check it out.

    for the energy efficiency facts and the solar energy calcs of sunlight on buildings – check out

    have a nice day, mr. realpatriot, sir.

  102. Real Patriot: Your statement that all “500 chemicals” are listed on a website is disingenuous. Perhaps all those chemicals ALONE might be harmless, but FIVE HUNDRED chemicals, in who knows what proportions, and how the combinations might negatively affect our water supply and our environment? Please, why must they use FIVE HUNDRED chemicals? It sounds totally unnecessary. Let these companies find a way to get the gas safely and THEN we will talk about whether or not they can do the fracking. We have unlimited TIME, we do not have UNLIMITED CLEAN WATER!

  103. RC, again, please don’t take my word for it — check it out. Of the 500 plus chemicals listed, about 15 of those are used during a fracking process and those must be reported to DEP.

    I am amazed at how hysteria can completely wipe out critical thought processes in this discussion.

    Anyfreeman, Bull. Anthropogenic climate change is just plain bull. For example, exactly 1000 years ago, Viking populations were thriving in far warmer conditions than now without the help of evil oil corps. The Vikings grew grain crops and raised cattle for almost 600 years — an impossibility now. (Lamb 1977, pg 248) England enjoyed extensive vinyards until they too froze out about 1400. (Lamb 1965) The global warming/Al Gores of the world have made hundreds of millions of dollars on this hoax, but only the blind and those who have something to gain continue to believe it. Follow the money.

    Anyfreeman, I’m glad to hear you are in favor of burning fossil fuels — ah, at least I think that’s what your ambiguous ansewer was.

    As for solar, in your words, “if only we could convert/capture/exploit it.”

    If only we could run an extension cord to the sun, we’d have all the power we need.

  104. “The global warming/Al Gores of the world have made hundreds of millions of dollars on this hoax, but only the blind and those who have something to gain continue to believe it. Follow the money.”

    With that kind of reasoning, ecologists must be the richest people in the world. Or they hide their money in Swiss bank accounts.

  105. Francois, Al Gore and various CEOs make the big bucks, as well as institutions that rely on huge enviro grants. The rank and file “ecologists” are happy to have jobs.

    History is a wonderful teacher for those who want to learn from it. The fact is, the world was warmer 1000 years ago (and many times before that) without man’s help.

    Historically, CO2 levels have followed temperature variations — not the other way around. Climate change? Sure. For about the last 3.5 billion years, again, without man’s help. Oh, and don’t forget, in the 60’s and early 70’s, some of the world’s most renowned scientists (Carl Sagan, for one) were predicting the coming ice age.

    But now. NOW! NOW it’s global warming and it’s the fault of greedy corportions and those selfish people who want the lights to come on when they flick that light switch. It all sounds a little silly, doesn’t it?

  106. you want to drink drilling fluid- fine. just do not insist/force me to. then we have a real serious problem.

    if i poured poison into your well, then accused you of hysterical hyperbole for objecting, we would be —right here– except it would be you complaining…

    little difference- but significant.

  107. Really………Back to the hysterics again. Gas Land has you spooked, but that ridiculous comedy has as much to do with the truth as Star Wars. Watch it again, then apply even a tiny bit of critical thought and a little fact checking and you will feel much, much better. The trash can is a wonderful spot for that Sci Fi production. Michael Moore and Mr. Fox must share some genes.

    Anyfreeman, of the hundreds and hundreds of gas wells drilled in NEPA in the last 2 years or so, how many wells have been “poisoned”?

    The “headline” wells were some Dimick wells which were found to have drilling-related methane, and Cabot was shut down for a year. Good. They deserved to be shut down, and if the landowners have a well-written lease, Cabot is gonna pay, pay, pay. That’s as it should be.

    But where are all these “poisoned” wells in PA you are referring to? FYI –methane is a potentially explosive gas, but it is not poisonous in water (check it out).

    Anyfree, I do enjoy a good, honest intellectual debate. We can all learn from one another. But that sort of learning exercise requires facts, not hype and hysteria.

    I know people are concerned about gas drilling (and they SHOULD be). In fact, a well pad will soon be started in my neighbor’s field about 400 yards from my house. It’s gonna be a God-awful mess and nuisance for quite a few months, but when it’s done, a well head is practically a non-issue. If you have driven through Tioga County, you don’t even notice them after they are completed.

    To me, bottom line is this: To maintain the standard of living that all of us want (you know, like — flicking the switch and the light comes on), NG is the cleanest, most abundant energy source I know of. The American economy and my kids’ and my grandkids’ future depends on a healthy economy which can only occur if we have a plentiful supply of energy. But we have to make sure the gas companies do it right.

    All hysteria aside, I think DEP has done a pretty good job of doing that.

  108. One can think he’s not affected by any of the environmental toxins every habitants of this part of the world is in contact with, while his own body probably has a measurable level of a cocktail of several of the most indesirable ones.
    While we wish him the best, his health outcome will be no better than average just because of his optimism. He may not have the intuition to make the relation between sickness and our modern way of life, but he may not be around when life expectancy of his grandchildren diminish for the first time in the history of mankind which is at least a hundred times more than what the bible says…
    However, he shall keep in mind that a healthy economy will not have much value when physical or mental health will be lost.
    How can he envision a future healthy economy when heathcare cost are already skyrocketing.
    Everything shall be done to lower our health risks, and yes, our way of life has gone too far.
    Are we like a bunch of lemmings running toward the sea?

  109. Anyfreeman, more drivel — and no answers from you.

    Let me try again. Where are all these poisoned wells in PA that you keep referring to? Come on. No more hysteria and baseless, ridiculous accusations. How about some facts, for once?

    Name names, anyfreeman. Tell us where these frac-poisoned Pennsylvania wells are.

  110. RealPatriot, those in power were not able to prove the presence of arms of mass destruction in Irak which would have been very convincing pieces of evidence, and still went on spending trillions of dollars on a war.
    Fracking opponents are having a much harder time. They have to give addresses of people who will get sick in the future? Come on.
    Are you getting paid by the industry?

  111. Francois, DEP reports are not only public record; they are published in the local newspapers. I know, because I live in NE PA — in the heart of gas country.

    Those ridiculous “poisoned well” stories have absolutely no basis in fact. Check it out on the PA DEP web site or the local papers.

    As for me being paid by the gas companies, well, eventually …….maybe, because I suspect my property will be included in a gas pool in the future.

    More importantly, I doubt there are many people a particular major gas/pipeline company hates more than me because I was involved in negotiating a hardcore landowner’s group gas lease, and pipeline negotiations are in the mill right now.

    Ya might say if I dropped dead right now, some of those folks would probably dance around the office.

    And no……I am not being paid for any of that by the members of our group or by any gas companies.

    I believe in facts, not baseless fear. If you can show me that any of the 600 plus wells fracked in PA so far have “poisoned” anyone’s well, I’d surely like to hear about it.

    So again, Anyfreeman and Francois, give me facts, not hysterics. Name names and sources for these poisoned wells in PA.

  112. @realpatriot I advocate study, caution and prudence – and you ‘troll up’ I post links to comprehensive studies regarding the true cost of operation, the idea that the full cost of drilling is borne by those drinking the drilling fluid – but you are blinded by big dollars and corporate expediency.
    This evidently makes you think that somehow my questions about the long term dangers and to consider the whole cost is ‘hysteria’. It’s the same argument, well honed by greed heads since DDT, and DIOXIN, and Agent Orange, and depleted uranium – but the tobacco lobby perfected the process. Don’t answer the questions, don’t deal with the real concerns we have for our safety, the health and safety of our children – no that would indicate that you cared about people, which would slow down the drilling.

    For crying out loud – a real patriot would defend his homeland, not shill for the exploiters.

    It is increasingly obvious that careful studious contemplation would be harder than twisting and contorting my concerns into some attack the person, ignore the problem.

    But you are probably too young to remember the Ethyl Corp – that monopoly created by Standard Oil and General Motors to limit their liability for the lead they put into gasoline, knowing it was poisonous, to avoid ‘knocking’. Eliminating knocking was a simple engineering fix, and lead was known to cause retardation in developing children -that known fact was not ignored. That was why the two largest companies in the US of their day created the Ethyl Corp to limit their exposure.

    What’s good for frackers is not automatically good for the USA.
    If you had read the articles I posted – in good faith, it is more than obvious that the stardard of care necessary to insure public safety has been waived (by Cheney’s task force) and the industry is exploiting a loophole in the law to evade reporting or calculating the true cost of operation.

    From my vantage point, it appears that you – like so many of your vulture buddies, prefer the certainty of income to the preservation of the future.

    After the disaster of the gulf oil blowout, I will not permit you to accuse me of hysteria. The keystone kops circlejerk of BP’s response(s) convinced me beyond any shred of a doubt not to believe the soft focus blathering of blow-dried bs agents.

  113. Real Patriot, I do agree that we need to stick to facts. However, I also agree with Anyfreeman, who says we need to proceed with caution! In my opinion, you can’t be too careful when it comes to our water supplies!

    Obviously, it only stands to reason that whenever you mix a chemical(s) with another chemical(s), you will incur a chemical reaction. Maybe good? Maybe bad? Who knows???

    I attended a Gov’t workshop here in NYS to listen to the DEC rep discuss the hydrofracking issue. WNY is already covered by numerous vertical wells, which they claim uses the same chemicals as the horizontal fracking (but only a fraction of the water).

    They conveniently didn’t take all of our questions. I wanted to ask if they had considered the correlation that exists between the massive amount of wells, and the very high cancer rates that exist in WNY. My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 3 years ago at the age of 50, and there is a concentration of it here – along with many other cancers. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but don’t you think it should be checked out before they dump more of these chemicals into the ground here, and affect one of your loved ones? I do!

    We can’t be too careful when it comes to our water supplies! And when we talk about the massive amount of water needed to frack a well – literally millions of gallons, how can we not be concerned?

    We were informed at this workshop by one gentleman that the Canadaigua water treatment plant had stopped taking the PA wastewater because of the fine sediments that were getting through into the lake, and the cadmium. Benzine (among others) is one of the chemicals used that is a known carcinogen.

    A close friend of mine is driving water truck in PA, and has told me of the devastation to the roads that is happening there. While the area might see some economic boom, he tells me he feels sorry for those who used to live in idyllic country settings, that have now become 24/7 industrial truck zones. I know I wouldn’t want to live amongst that! There’s always a price to pay. The devil is in the details.

    At another educational forum on the issue, when someone said that it was faulty cement casings that had caused the Gulf crisis, a gas co. rep assured the crowd that they “only use the highest quality cement”. Yeah, sure — until no one is looking. (And what about earthquakes?!)

    Fact is that former head of the NYS DEC, Pete Grannis, was fired by former Gov. Patterson when a memo from Grannis’s office leaked out stating that due to the fact that the DEC staff had been cut in half, they did not have the manpower to monitor gas drilling. So, Grannis got fired for being truthful! Hmmm?!?!? Doesn’t that make you wonder? If you think we can trust these developers to police themselves, you are sadly mistaken.

    As my husband always liked to say, “Look long and hard before you leap! Still water runs deep.”

    I thought you might be interested in the message received from the Citizen’s group, Schoharie Valley Watch, which I have pasted below:

    Talisman Energy has resumed its Marcellus Shale drilling operations in Pennsylvania, a week after one of the company’s gas wells experienced a blowout that caused an uncontrolled discharge of fracking fluids onto state forest lands in Tioga County. While Talisman’s drilling program makes it one of Pennsylvania’s most active natural gas exploration and drilling companies, it is also one of the state’s most often cited for violations. Last year, the Pennsylvania DEP conducted 187 inspections of Talisman’s Marcellus Shale well sites, finding 151 violations on 91 of those inspections. Only Chief Oil & Gas, based in Dallas, Texas, with a field office in Williamsport, Pa. had more violations in 2010.

    The web site of the Oil and Gas Mineral Service Company, a consulting firm servicing the drilling industry, identifies Tailsman as a leading player in the drilling of Utica shale deposits as well as Marcellus shale. That web site goes on to identify both Otsego County, NY and Schoharie County, NY as locations for potential Utica Shale drilling operations by Tailsman and others..

  114. anyf, yes. Your accusations are hysterical. You make bold statements such as: “you want to drink drilling fluid- fine”
    “borne by those drinking the drilling fluid”
    “those who would plunder our birthright, poison our wells for profit”

    Show me a single case of any PA well containing drilling fluid. Document these poisoned wells. If it’s true, then I REALLY wanna know about it. As for me being blinded my money, I hate to tell you, but I don’t own enough property to be “blinded”. ROFLMAO

    Either you document your claims or it’s …………hysterics.

    MK, I suggest you visit Sullivan and Bradford Counties here in PA. “Industrial Truck zones”?! That’s just plain bull. Come see for yourself.

    As for roads, many of the roads here are better than they have ever been because they were completely rebuild — including a very deep base.

    Again, as Jack Webb used to say, “The facts, ma’am. Just the facts”.

    There is no form of energy that civilization can capture and use without cost. That includes NG. But the NG impact is far less than most others.

    Or………back the caveman discussion again.

  115. Just relating what the guy I know has seen. Doesn’t mean it’s the same in every place.

    Are you going to resort to calling everyone who has had different results from a particular area you have seen, a liar? I hope not, and I do hope it works out well for you and your family, Real Patriot, and that you all enjoy a long, healthy life.

  116. I concede my comments that poison is ‘bad’ for you might be bold. My favorite video: Chemists for Dow drinking DDT to prove the safety and efficacy.

    I have sailed around the world and seen the effects of drilling, pollution and rampant resource exploitation up close.

    It’s personal to me, yes, I confess. I like clean water, and clean air, and bees, and birds and clean oceans. Sorry if that’s hysterical.

    I just don’t believe that your willingness to close your eyes to the potential downstream outcomes is objective. Your willingness to take money for your geologic proximity renders anything you say about my hysteria at least equally suspect.

    Poison is poison. And that’s a fact.

    The multinational oil and resource exploitation companies often cite the lax regulations in compromised countries as ‘advantageous’ and more business friendly. It is their concerted conspiracy to exert regulatory capture, and to spend obscene quantities of dollars to reduce the effectiveness of the government and the science.

    OK, maybe they aren’t paying you directly. But you have definitely drank their frackaid.

  117. MK, sheesh! Let’s get back to, “The facts, ma’am. Just the facts.” I did not call anyone a liar.

    And no, it’s not the same every place, but I LIVE here. I can tell you beautiful Sullivan and Bradford counties are not “Industrial Truck zones”. For a few days, a particular well might well have 30 or 40 fresh water trucks lining up — THEN THEY ARE GONE. Again. Hysterics.

    anyf, here we go again. Your statement, “Poison is poison”.

    Your previous statements clearly tell the world that those “poisons” are getting into our wells. Remember, even the Dimick issue had nothing to do with fracking or frack fluid.

    So, again…………..please tell us of any single instance in PA when these poisons have gotten into our wells.

    The facts, Mr. Anyf, just the facts.

  118. anyfreeman….

    You say “It is increasingly obvious that careful studious contemplation would be harder than twisting and contorting my concerns into some attack the person, ignore the problem.”

    And then go on to spew your vitriol with the following rant ” it appears that you – like so many of your vulture buddies…..
    The keystone kops circlejerk of BP’s response(s) convinced me beyond any shred of a doubt not to believe the soft focus blathering of blow-dried bs agents. ”

    Classic amateur debating tactic, accuse the opponent of something which you are guilty of to divert attention.

    If that’s what you consider a convincing “fact-based” argument, then you clearly have no facts to bolster your position.

  119. MK…

    NYS DEC, Pete Grannis, was fired by former Gov. Patterson because he had no reason to stop gas well inspections and was making that public statement as a publicity stunt to try to force the state to rescind the layoffs.

  120. Reason, and Real Patriot,

    It is very apparent you have your minds made up that we should just dive into this full-speed-ahead.

    I’m glad it’s not a truck issue where you live, RP, and reason – you may think the DEC can monitor all these various corporations’ numerous well sites with half the staff, but I don’t. I’ve seen the collusion & corruption that goes on when you’re talking about big money. I have spoken directly to a number of NYS DEC employees who have confirmed their inability to do the job properly. That is a fact.

    And I find it interesting that of all the concerns I sited in my other post, trucking and Grannis’s firing is what you are focusing on. First, do no harm.

    Again, I say to you both since your minds are made up – I wish you and your families the best of health and much happiness in the future.

  121. MK, I can’t speak for DEC in NY, but PA DEP seems to be doing a darned good job.

    You say, “First, do no harm.” Well, there has been very little harm done in PA from fracking, and the one “big one” in Dimick had nothing to do with fracking, and it didn’t poison anything. Since the company responsible was shut donw for a year, I’d say DEP did their job.

    Back to the “First, do no harm”, no offense, but that is idealistic beyond all reality.

    If a gasoline tanker rolls into a river and pollutes it, do we cease the production of all gasoline?

    If a child is accidentally electrocuted, do we shut down all the generators in the nation?

    The diesel trucks and trains that deliver everything we all depend on spew out carcinogenic exhaust.

    The factories that make the components to make the computer you are on right now are not emissions free.

    The sunlight you soak up walking to the mailbox can kill you.

    The nitrites in the piece of bacon you ate Sunday morning can give you stomach cancer.

    The old saying in toxicology — everything and nothing is toxic. It’s all in the dosage.

    But neither you nor anyf have been able to name a single case of wells being poisoned in PA as a result of fracking, yet you want the nation to turn it’s back on the cleanest, most abundant viable energy source on the planet.

    If we are being poisoned, show me. Again, I am asking for facts, not Gasland hysteria.

    The facts ma’am. Just the facts.

  122. Reductionism works. Show me the proof – they cry, as though the oil companies and resource exploiters had some right to take from the commons and leave us to live in the tailings.

    The issue is not whether or not it is good or bad, but that the corporations are not paying their full share of the true costs. Of course those true costs are carried consumers, while the oil companies evade responsibility.

    This is similar to the tobacco debate. There is no way to truly assess the damage caused by smoking.

    The reductionist argument, to quote realpatrot, “If a gasoline tanker rolls into a river and pollutes it, do we cease production of all gasoline?”

    Let’s take a moment to dissect this silly trope. I could mention that if my car goes off the road, and damages someone’s property, I will be held accountable. But that’s the response the reductionist desires.

    The correct and more societally responsible way would be to calculate and assess the total costs of operating oil extraction, refining, transportation and mitigation. If I cut my lawn and throw the clippings over my neighbor’s fence, I have increased my productivity, and lowered my costs – I don’t have to spend the time and money to take the waste to the landfill.

    Since gasoline tankers are rolling bombs, some additional regulation has come into force. This tentative regulation is typically imposed after a disaster that takes lives and damages property.

    The notion that those causing the damage should have responsibility for the impact engorges the corpirates. They have successfully lied, bribed, coerced, bullied and shouted loud and long enough
    “drill baby drill” to evade the moral,legal and ethical effects of their misfeasance – all to serve the stockholders and the officers of the company, in direct conflict with the best interests of those downwind, downstream or out of the income stream.

    But back to the reductionists’ myriad arguments. The electrocution argument is also apt, since the history has a lesson for us there. When telephones were first deployed, the ringer would sometimes electrocute users. Telephones were efficient conduits for lightning strikes to ground.

    If we used the reductionist creed, what’s a few dead kids? Price of progress, full speed ahead.
    Fortunately, regulation and standards were imposed, and a safe useful network developed. Without regulations and ‘the nanny-state’ you could only talk to folks on the private exchange you subscribed to, and only on dry clear days.

    But I digress – back to the tobacco or the lead in the gasoline instances. I didn’t control why or how Ethyl Corp gamed the system for their profits. I didn’t bribe the legislators to abandon their positions of public trust. I didn’t personally profit from the special amoral deal like Standard Oil and General Motors did by knowingly introducing lead into our gasoline stock.

    They knew, and they got rich. They were able to hold off regulatory reform, by calling all the mothers of brain damaged children, “hysterical” like the manufacturers of DDT, and Agent Orange did for years, while they amassed huge personal fortunes at the public common. While they poisoned the air, and caused airborne mental retardation agents to be breathed by all – without regard for the societal imperative to “do no harm”

    Their well paid, well rehearsed PR firms and think tanks issued placating reassurances, while the research was buried in corpirate warehouses. or by non-disclosure agreements closing lawsuits.

    I am not against energy. I am against – as I have stated many times, shitty companies using our public trust, and acting like it’s our job to take the dirty diaper when they have clear cut my neighborhood.

    How much do you think BP owes for the Deepwater Horizon? Is there any chance that they will ever be held accountable? how about the MMR agency that was so busy horking BP’s blow off hookers’ bellies to even inspect?

    OK, I’m winding down. to finish, I think it should be the other way around – if you want to come into my ‘hood and drill and use our water, and inject millions of gallons of stew into our aquifer, you should prove it’s safe FIRST.

    Why should I have to chase you, when you won’t share the ingredients of your carcinogenic brew, when you violate the laws you can’t change, and ignore the moral legal and philosophical obligation of a civilized society.

    even prior to when Gasland was nominated for a documentary Oscar, two groups were created to smear the film, both funded by NG trade associations.

    I’m not making that up. Here’s the link. It itemizes all the exemptions to the laws the fracking industries had to wrangle before the latest “gold rush”
    This is a transfer of cost/imact to all.
    But check it out.

  123. Anyfreeman…

    Are you high? Your rambling, nonsensical remarks are amusing but stupid

  124. Your statement, “if you want to come into my ‘hood and drill and use our water, and inject millions of gallons of stew into our aquifer, you should prove it’s safe FIRST” is nothing short of outrageous bullshit and baseless hysteria.

    You cannot name a single instance where even a single drop of “stew” or anything else was injected into our “aquifer” from fracking in PA.

    Even after you have been challenged many times to site a single instance of this occurring, you continue to spout this completely baseless, incoherent babble.

    With all sincerity, I have gotten to the point that I think perhaps you are not taking your meds.



  125. Maybe this information will aid in your “discussion”.

    WASHINGTON, D. C. 20549

    FORM 10-K

    For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
    Commission file number 1-10447
    (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

    Extracted from the Form 10-K

    We face a variety of hazards and risks that could cause substantial financial losses.

    Our business involves a variety of operating risks, including:

    • well site blowouts, cratering and explosions;

    • equipment failures;

    • uncontrolled flows of natural gas, oil or well fluids;

    • fires;

    • formations with abnormal pressures;

    • pollution and other environmental risks; and

    • natural disasters.
    In addition, we conduct operations in shallow offshore areas (largely coastal waters), which are subject to additional hazards of marine operations, such as capsizing, collision and damage from severe weather. Any of these events could result in injury or loss of human life, loss of hydrocarbons, significant damage to or destruction of property, environmental pollution, regulatory investigations and penalties, impairment of our operations and substantial losses to us.
    Our operation of natural gas gathering and pipeline systems also involves various risks, including the risk of explosions and environmental hazards caused by pipeline leaks and ruptures. The location of pipelines near populated areas, including residential areas, commercial business centers and industrial sites, could increase these risks. As of December 31, 2009, we owned or operated approximately 3,500 miles of natural gas gathering and pipeline systems. As part of our normal maintenance program, we have identified certain segments of our pipelines that we believe periodically require repair, replacement or additional maintenance.

    Federal and state legislation and regulatory initiatives related to hydraulic fracturing could result in increased costs and operating restrictions or delays.
    Bills have recently been introduced in Congress that would subject hydraulic fracturing to federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. If adopted, these bills could result in additional permitting requirements for hydraulic fracturing operations as well as various restrictions on those operations. These permitting requirements and restrictions could result in delays in operations at well sites as well as increased costs to make wells productive. Moreover, the bills introduced in Congress would require the public disclosure of certain information regarding the chemical makeup of hydraulic fracturing fluids, many of which are proprietary to the service companies that perform the hydraulic fracturing operations. Such disclosure could make it easier for third parties to initiate litigation against us in the event of perceived problems with drinking water wells in the vicinity of an oil or gas well or other alleged environmental problems. In addition to these federal legislative proposals, some states and local governments have considered imposing various conditions and restrictions on hydraulic fracturing operations, including requirements regarding chemical disclosure, casing and cementing of wells, withdrawal of water for use in high-volume hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells, baseline testing of nearby water wells, and restrictions on the type of additives that may be used in hydraulic fracturing operations. If these types of conditions are adopted, we could be subject to increased costs and possibly limits on the productivity of certain wells.

  126. June, thanks for the info, but, ahhhhhhhhhhh, what is new about this?

    Is there any form of viable energy that doesn’t have the same or even far greater risks? Has anyone ever claimed that NG fracking is absolutely risk free? Is ANYTHING in life absolutely risk free?

    The answer is “no”.

    NG still represents the cleanest, safest, most abundant source of energy on the planet.

    Please don’t tell me that solar or wind or God forbid ethanol is a viable replacement for even a fraction of fossil or nuke energy, because it just isn’t true.

    And please don’t tell me we’ve regressed to the caveman discussion again.

    Same question I’ve asked many times: Of the 600 plus wells drilled in PA, can you name a single instance of wells being “poisoned” by fracking?

    The answer is “NO”.

  127. further reading…
    Riverkeeper documented more than 20 cases of tainted drinking water in Pennsylvania; more than 30 cases of groundwater and drinking water contamination in Colorado and Wyoming; and more than 10 surface water spills of drilling fluid in the Marcellus Shale region. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has logged 1,435 violations of the state’s oil and gas laws in the Marcellus Shale in the last two and a half years, the report says………………..
    The report also documents more than 30 investigations of stray gas migration from new and abandoned wells in Pennsylvania and five explosions between 2006 and 2010 that contaminated ground or surface water. “Despite industry rhetoric to the contrary, the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing are real,” said Craig Michaels, an author of the report. ……….(read more at link)

  128. a bit more reading…

    — Regulations that should have kept drilling wastewater out of the important Delaware River Basin, the water supply for 15 million people in four states, were circumvented for many months.
    In 2009 and part of 2010, energy company Cabot Oil & Gas trucked more than 44,000 barrels of well wastewater to a treatment facility in Hatfield Township, a Philadelphia suburb. Those liquids were then discharged through the town sewage plant into the Neshaminy Creek, which winds through Bucks and Montgomery counties on its way to the Delaware River.
    Regulators put a stop to the practice in June, but the more than 300,000 residents of the 17 municipalities that get water from the creek or use it for recreation were never informed that numerous public pronouncements that the watershed was free of gas waste had been wrong……………… (read more at link)
    In some parts of the state, there have also been fights over whether the drilling process itself has the potential to contaminate nearby drinking water wells.
    Cabot agreed in December to pay $4.1 million to 19 homeowners in Dimock, Pa., whose private wells, Pennsylvania authorities said, were contaminated by methane gas migrating underground from a drilling site. Cabot denies responsibility for the pollution.
    As for the unauthorized discharges into Neshaminy Creek, Cabot spokesman Stark said the company was aware that its waste shouldn’t have been going to facilities in the Delaware Basin. He said he wasn’t sure, however, whether Cabot knew where the firm it had hired to treat the waste, PSC Environmental Services, was discharging the fluids. ……………… (read more at link)

  129. currently under investigation…
    Pa. fracking blowout spews fluid onto state forest lands
    Talisman Energy may face heavy penalties
    By G. Jeffrey Aaron • • January 25, 2011, 8:15 pm
    “This was a serious incident that could have caused significant environmental harm had it not been brought under control,” DEP North-central Regional Director Nels Taber said in a statement. “DEP is conducting a thorough investigation to determine why this incident occurred.”)read more at link…

  130. The Titanic story represents a stunning example of the foolish arrogance of man over nature. The captain didn’t get the facts soon enough.

    Will Man be around in a thousand years?

    The answer is “NO”.

  131. That’s right — lawyers claiming water well contamination but not a peep from DEP? Hmmm.

    We live in a society where an elderly lady can spill coffee on her lap and suck $400,000 out of McDonalds.

    Notice the source of much of your information? RIVERKEEPER. Kinda like asking the KKK for a report on racial equality, so pardon me, but Riverkeeper’s claim of 20 cases of well contamination in PA is suspect. Are they including Dimick in those numbers?

    FYI, methane is not poisonous and most water wells in PA have a certain amount of methane in the water. Cabot paid dearly for the Dimick blunder as they should have. It is unlikely that any gas company is likely to make that mistake again.

    Another FYI: The Dimick issue is not a FRACKING issue. None-the-less, it is likely that it was sub standard drilling/casing practice.

    The report you sited is, if quoted without examination, the same sort of sensationalism that claims 1435 enviromental violations. GASP!!! But read the actual violations report and you will discover that nearly 1100 of the “violations” were technical — not actual “spill” violations.

    Last year a gas company was shut down for a short while and fined for an environmental violation. What did they do? They had a permit to draw water from the Susquehanna, but they drew it from the wrong location. Same river, same water, same amount of water, but they drew it from the wrong spot.

    Was the environment threatened? Nope. Did they deserve the sanction? Yup. Did DEP do it’s job? Yup.

    Here is one example of a “spill”. A gas worker goes behind a construction trailer an urinates. DEP catches him, guess what. That is a violation. Sheesh. Now the number is up to 1436.

    Certainly, some of the 300 plus violations in the past 2 1/2 years are actual spills, but to keep it in perspective, “spills’ happen in all aspects of civilized life. Overfill your gas tank at a gas station and that is an “oops”. Do it at a gas well site and it is a reportable, finable offense.

    If there is any truth at all to even a single incident sited in the Riverkeeper report — and that has yet to be determined (Gasland Garbage?), you can bet the gas company involved will pay and pay dearly. Money is a very real incentive to do things right.

    NG still represents the cleanest, safest, most abundant source of energy on the planet. If you are looking for perfection, you’re not going to find it with any viable energy source.

    So. Ya don’t want NG? What viable, clean, abundant energy source do YOU recommend?

    Oh. I’m still waiting to see documentation (as opposed to lawyers’ claims) of any frack-poisoned wells in PA. A DEP report will do.

  132. Wow! We’re back to Gasland Hysterics again where incredibly sensationlistic and just plain absurd info is swallowed by simple-minded people –hook, line and sinker.

    The article states “Oil and gas service companies injected tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel into onshore wells in more than a dozen states from 2005 to 2009, Congressional investigators have charged.”

    Think about it. MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF DIESEL FUEL injected into wells! Since a frac well requires at about a million gallons of water (more or less), and in instances where diesel fuel is used, it is added to frac water IN PARTS PER MILLION (check it out on the PA DEP website)…….many hundreds of thousands of wells would have had to have been drilled to use up “tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel”.

    The article later states,”Mr. Waxman, along with Representatives Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado, said that they were so far “unable to draw definitive conclusions about the potential impact of these injections on public health or the environment.”

    The article constitutes outrageously deceiptful journalism, and the Waxman/Markey/DeGette shenanigans represents the slimiest in American politics.

    They should all be ashamed.

  133. Our good friend – Mr. Realpatrot has not responded to my previous post.

    I post it here again – and will summarize it as a chronology and timeline relating to the decision process regarding our watershed.

    It names the PR firms and their ability to subvert the public process for their own gains.

    And for the record, I do believe that diesel fuel (as well as barium, beryllium, strontium and acetone) should be kept out of the water supply for more than 20 million citizens. Sorry if that interferes with your profit plans.
    Actually, no, I’m not sorry. The behavior of those seeking to plunder our watershed for profit, and evade their responsibilities for the outcome should be held to account.

    What’s the plan to mitigate the impact? Bankruptcy? That’s a good outcome, except if you have to drink the water, and raise your kids after the facts emerge.

    Assuming you have kids. Or that they can walk. Or talk.

    Again – what’s the hurry? why not obey the law? Why does the drilling industry need exemptions from the environmental impact laws? What are they hiding? Thousands of wells.

    Billions of gallons of fresh water traded for oil. Think about it.

  134. Same ole same ole from you, anyf. You can sizzle all you want but show me the steak — show me the “poisoned” wells (your words).

    Let’s cut to the chase……you were naive enough to be scared $hitless by a ridiculously scam of a production called Gasland, and you haven’t had the fortitude to admit it is an outright farce scam.

    As to the article you posted, it is the same sort of biased sources with the same baseless statements, of the same ilk that Scott posted.

    I make decisions based on FACT, not fluttery, hysterical emotion. If I had reason –based on FACT — to believe that my well was going to be “poisoned” by the gas wells in my neighborhood, you could be aboslutely certain that I would be screaming louder than anyone on this site. But neither you nor anyone else has been able to document a single well in PA that has been “POISONED”.

    Which brings me to the question I have asked you many times which you have refused to answer just as many times: SHOW ME THE POISONED WELLS.

  135. Here’s a news break:

    ҉ۢNatural Gas Emergency РGas Companny of New Mexico: Due to rolling black outs in West Texas and other problems, the delivery of natural gas into New Mexico has been impeded. States in the southwest are experiencing similar issues. The New Mexico Gas Company pipeline system is intact and crews are working to minimize the impact of this temporary situation. Customers have experienced an interruption of service in several communities. These include: Tularosa, La Luz, Espanola, Taos, Questa, Red River, the town of Bernalillo, Placitas, Santa Clara Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Alamogordo, Silver City, and San Ildefonso Pueblo. NM Gas Co. has been working with National, County and State emergency services and officials, as well as local assistance agencies. Visit their website for a list of communities affected, a list of local emergency shelters, safety information and other up-to-date-information. The website will be continually updated as new information becomes available.

    •Officials call for electricity, gas conservation – El Paso Electric Company has notified the Doña Ana County Emergency Operations Center that supply levels remain low throughout the region, and consumers are strongly encouraged to conserve power wherever possible. A decision will be made later today about whether El Paso Electric will recommend that large-scale power users close again on Friday. Although planned, rolling blackouts were suspended just after 11 p.m. last night, much colder temperatures expected overnight may result in additional brief blackouts in targeted areas. Residents also are being asked to turn back thermostats to conserve on natural gas.”

    Bahh humbug. Wanna stay warm? Just watch the latest comedy: Gasland.

  136. DEP is technically correct when they state they cannot conclusively link the existence of benzene, strontium, manganese, and barium in water wells after nearby fracking has taken place. What they don’t say is that hardly anyone has the foresight nor the resources to have the expensive comprehensive pre-drilling water sampling performed that would prove that these contaminants weren’t there before.
    So far, Halliburton et al, have successfully resisted even the attempts of Congress to force them to divulge their propietary secret poison formulas. I wonder how far a small rural county judge will get in enforcing a discovery request from the plaintiffs?

  137. Ahhh, Spyd, I see you too have seen the sci-fi comedy called Gasland — and you didn’t have your critical thinking cap on.

    No matter what Mr Fox tells you on his ridiculous little production, all you need to do is go to the DEP website and look at the chemicals that can be used in fracking in PA. No secret password, no secret decoder ring; it’s all there for the world to see.

    As for “benzene, strontium, manganese, and barium in water wells”; if a water well was contaminated from fracking, the listed fracking fluids would serve as a “marker” and appear in a standard water test.

    Again……….where are all these contaminated water wells? Names? Locations?

  138. Though I am often in awe of Sandra Steingraber’s work in Orion, I found this column lacking in technical detail and overly reliant on specious assumptions and inferences. For example, I am not sure what good it does to insert a claim that Haliburton pioneered hydraulic fracturing techniques except to open the rhetorical door for folks who disagree to respond with their own ad hominem arguments. I was glad to see subsequent comments by folks like June and Mary Kay Barton who tried to keep the discussion from becoming dominated by partisanship and unyielding ideology.

  139. Straight from the playbook. The multiple-nationals are the ones putting our health and safety at risk. To all the well paid and well organized pr flacks haunting this site, for some illogical reason- those who would question the sanity of injecting secret chemicals into our drinking water have to prove there is a proven problem. Hey! You are the ones spewing toxins into our watershed for profit. You drink it. For me, no thanks.

  140. RealPatriot:
    In a previous comment you said:
    “Historically, CO2 levels have followed temperature variations—not the other way around. Climate change? Sure. For about the last 3.5 billion years, again, without man’s help. Oh, and don’t forget, in the 60’s and early 70’s, some of the world’s most renowned scientists (Carl Sagan, for one) were predicting the coming ice age.”

    I have a comment and a question for you.

    Question: As someone who has been so persistent in demanding proof of poisoned wells from other people, will you step up and provide proof of your claim that Carl Sagan predicted an ice age during the 60s and early 70s?

    I found an undated recording where Sagan mentions the possibility of an ice age (at 1:30) and in the very next breath acknowledges the potential for an increased greenhouse effect. Then in an update recorded 10 years later (3:20) Sagan clarifies that, “the dangers of the increasing greenhouse effect have become much more clear.”

    Global climate results from fundamental physical and chemical processes of energy transmission and retention. As an astrophysicist Sagan knew that the reflection of solar energy could cause a colder climate on Earth as it does on Mars. The fundamental physical processes would be the same on either planet. As Sagan also points out in this video, the same fundamental physics that produce a blazing climate on Venus, could also work to create a warmer climate on Earth. The difference is in the details of how and how much energy reaches Earth and how it is stored (or not) by the atmosphere, land, and water. To my knowledge some physicists and climate scientists in the 70s did offer some scenarios for how global climate could revert back to ice age conditions in the relatively near future. But those statements were never widely accepted by the climate science community as definitive projections.

    Comment: Yes, there is evidence that global climate was not stable prior to the human influence on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Global climate is the result of a range of influences and processes, but greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide have been proven to absorb heat and increase air temperatures. The fact that other causes have led to climate changes in the past does not preclude the influence of other causes in the future.

    This video offers a better explanation than mine with specific references to your claim about the temperature/CO2 relationsip:

  141. Dear Frack Flacks-

    There is a straight line from the Ethyl Corp to the frackers. They are determined to delay real consideration, or viable inspection of long term impacts.

    They have huge investments. They bought exemptions from the Clean Water Bills.
    Think about that. Then look up the ethyl corporation.

  142. I’ve been reading all the comments since the original article, and I still say, what’s wrong with just letting the gas stay right where it is until a guaranteed SAFE method of extracting it is found? We can’t “undo” damage to our clean water supply once it is contaminated. We can live without natural gas, but we CANNOT live without clean water. All New Yorkers have a vested interest in their water supply, with at least as many millions of dollars invested as the gas/oil industry has in its drilling ventures, BUT their water supply is vitally necessary to their future lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. Forget all the nitty-gritty details of drilling, forget all the “income” that might be produced (mostly for the gas industry, not the land owners) just think about the irreplacable water supply that is potentially endangered. Think about the future generations for just a minute. What will they think when they look back and discover that we were so careless about guarding our clean drinking water supply?
    NO, you can’t drill until you PROVE our water supply is safe. If you can’t do that, then, just go away and drill where people don’t care what happens. We care.

  143. All that fracturing a well injects is water, sand and a very small amount of detergents and such. The fracturing is occurring in the gas production strata, a mile or more below the deepest of water wells.

    That is why it is simply not possible to contaminate a water well when a gas well is fractured and this is why there are simply no credible reports of it ever happening. You might want to look at for excellent commentary on the petroleum industry.

    No, I don’t work for a production company, I’ve simply been around the patch frequently. I’ve got friends in Midland Texas and have actually seen fracturing operations in progress.

  144. Wall Street likes this.
    Cheaspeake Energy is UP 12.7% on news that their shale reserves have been transferred to an off-shore, non-regulated entity.

  145. @156 Martin Sandberg. Thanks for your anecdotes about the oilpatch, and the oildrum post.

    In response, several issues ducked by the carefully crafted parsing of the fracking activities:

    Gas escapes when released. There are no credible, absolutely certain methods to keep all the gas contained. Period.

    Heavy metals and toxins previously encapsulated in shale are released with the fracturing process. Preliminary results show an unprecedented incidence of Hexavelant Chromium and similar heavy metals in the water and in the storage ponds.

    Nonetheless, the natural gas industries have released a tremendous lobbying effort to discredit and attack anyone who is daring to question fracking.
    “Hysterical” they call them. Similar campaigns were launched around hexavalent chromium, around love canal, and by the tobacco industries.
    After the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, it’s more important than ever to have at the very basic minimum, a fair and open discussion – with the corporations providing fair and open inspections of their ingredients, their real unvarnished results, and to be regulated by the CLEAN WATER ACT. The backroom secret scheme hatched with the covert complicity of a Halliburton exCEO (Dick Cheney)to protect a technique that company developed is bad. But to impugn and attack good citizens for unclean motives when their oily palms are greased seven ways from Sunday?

    That, my friends, is Unfair. It is also UnAmerican. Like the companies taking over the fields. In a multinational manuever we have seen too often, whenever a profitable procedure has the side effect of killing babies, or poisoning the watershed, hastily arranged liaisons are announced. Typically a foreign owned company is trotted out as the “investor” or the “acquirer” and paraded around to show off their immunity from “crazy loonies” who like clean water and clean air, and by the way, good luck protecting your natural resources from XYZ Corp, based in Transylvania.

  146. For RealPatriot:
    Real World Experience: Long after drilling had been completed on the 2 horizontal wells that are on a pad 600 ft from my water well — and after chemical injection under pressure had been started — I heard the sound of CLANGING that is only associated with drilling operations. Friendly contact with the drill-site owner revealed that both well casings had been replaced after they had been cracked during fracking. Now there wasn’t that much casing replaced, so that tells me that the depth of contamination was shallow.
    Response time from the overworked DEP for water sampling was one day. Do you think they are rightly concerned about the possibility of ground water pollution from this type of event?
    In anticipation of your usual challenge — I really hope there is no evidence of watershed contamination. I’m still waiting for results since November. I did mention that DEP is overworked; and they now have a more pressing “event” to deal with in Avella.

  147. Thanks for that link to the Times article. I will save that in my file on this matter.

  148. the technology been as rapidly deployed as in the United States, where a gas rush is under way. Gas extraction now goes on in thirty-two states, with half a million new gas wells drilled in the last ten years alone. We are literally shattering the bedrock of our nation and pumping it full of carcinogens in order to bring methane out of the earth.gps news

  149. News from Quebec,
    After the BAPE commission issued its report, short of a moratorium, the provincial government announced to limit exploration and fracking to scientific knowledge acquisition during a 1-2 year environmental assessment. And until then, laws to limit use of questionable chemicals will be passed.

  150. Concerning getting responsible and representative officials elected: My plan is to write in “None of the above” when the choices on the ballot are all unsatisfactory.

  151. Poisoned drinking water, radioactive Pacific Ocean, Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico, gas explosions in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

    When the most powerful nation in the history of the planet is shooting uranium bullets and destroying villages and towns with death drones, and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to a co-opted corporatist, when millions are losing their homes each year in largest wealth transfer/Ponzi scheme ever, it’s time to look at the history.

    The exhaustive, impeccably researched definitive account of 20th Century America
    “Taking the Risk out of Democracy” by Alex Carey. An industrial psychologist from Australia did the best of the history of American propaganda, pr, spin and managing consent. Read it.

    From the earliest “americanization” efforts funded by the National Association of Manufacturers, Carey draws a straight line from Hitler (a gushing fan of American PR) through Joe McCarthy to Bush and torture.

    Read it.

  152. How about a specifically targeted “JDAM” boycott to bring awareness to this issue. The target could be an oil co., a utility, even a peripherally involved target to the fracking industry could be effective. It would draw public discussion to this issue – the very LAST thing the ‘frackers’ want.

    Fracking is only done in the US because it’s easy to get away – we need to make fracking as expensive to the gas companies as they made gasoline expensive to us. Payback !

    The stakes are beyond realization – the Oglalla aquifer that covers nearly 1/2 the central US could be lost to benzene poisoning. Even a whiff of benzene can destroy one’s liver – just a sniff!! Imagine most all of the agricultural irrigation in the US shut down (or maybe the corporations would just try and cover up the crop pollution by poisoned irrigation. “Ahh just export the stuff to some third world country JR – no problemo to us that way. We’ll make billions!!”).

    This sort of thing has never happened before ???

  153. The wells drilled in the old days 1980’s; when I roughnecked included a sort of monitoring of the formation strata called a well log. Performed by “wireline” operators such as Slumberjay a oil field term for a company that scanned the open borehole for anomalies where water might enter and gas, or oil may be developed. This MRI of sorts determined whether this zone was cemented off or further tested for hydrocarbons.
    This could and should be part of the rope that can used to hang the production company because something has failed when their is “communication” with any surface water. It fact it is incredible that these companies don’t have their financial ears pinned back each and every time this happens!!

  154. I was reading this while preparing for a paper on fracking, and after just doing a presentation in my environmental resource management class. I was deeply moved by your words.

    This is just a well written piece of work and bring such a bright light on the subject. The best I could come up with was, “what the frack?”

    Thank you for writing this. I hope many others read it and are moved to tears as I was.

  155. it’s hard to understand how something like this has been allowed to go on. Though it does seem that public awareness is growing, however slowly. The least we can all do is make politicians aware of our opposition to fracking. As to the question of how much I’d be willing to pay to heat my home, I’d rather pay more for heat than not have clean drinking water, or end up with some form of cancer.

  156. Systematic activities to prevent or cure health problems and promote good health in humans are undertaken by health care providers. Applications with regard to animal health are covered by the veterinary sciences.

  157. I have to keep asking myself what kind of a country do we live in? We have the EPA. Wasn’t that agency alone supposed to protect the public from an industry so out of control they change the law as Bush and Cheney did so they could try this Nazi experiment on our enviroment and our health. Fracking should have been stopped a long time ago. Let’s all put the pressure on starting with the state of New York. Let’s not let one more well be “Fracked” Let’s Ban Fracking NOW!!!!!!!!

  158. I forgot to mention that I live in North Dakota. This state’s. western 1/2 is going to be destroyed unless Federal Legislation stops fracking for good. This state’s people are completely in the dark on fracking and the leadership is so ignorant and greed filled that they see nothing wrong with fracking as long as it is not next door to them I know it sounds unbeleivable but the oil companys are laughing their heads off and even some of their employees have never seen a state like this one. The people who are being hurt here are the innocent people living in rural North Dakota. We need Federal help here, and not in a year from now but right now. This is the most serious issue of my life. This states air and water and future are being destroyed by white collar crime from these oil & gas companys. Please President Obama take a real stand for leadership and stop Fracking and let us all invest in clean wind, solar, geo-thermal energy. North Dakota could be a beautiful leader in all of these clean energys if only we are not destroyed by lack of leadership, disinfermation and the lack of a real vision for a positive future were we preserve what makes this and every other state in the nation great. A clean place to live and a future free of the worry of health issues related to the stupidity and greed called Fracking. BAN FRACKING NOW !11111111111111111111111111

  159. 31 years ago we lived in St Paul Alberta.
    Within a few weeks of moving there I was suffering from nose bleeds, doctors did not know why these were happening, they were blaming florescent lighting among other things.
    Friday I watched a program on Fracking and heard about people suffering from nose bleeds.
    The association with nose bleeds and St Paul was that St Paul was a town dependent on oil and was surrounded by oil rigs!
    It has taken me 31 years to understand why I was suffering from this!!

  160. This article is bunk on the one fact alone that the author seems to avoid at all costs. If you did not frack here, then you would instead oil tanker all that oil from the mid east.

    Yes, we have reason for concern but saying it is Impossible. That is totally defeatist.

    You simply cannot argue for a world in which no one uses plastic or drives a car. You can favor better use of energy, but you are going to still need these forms of energy.

    Without these, the humans; a natural force created by millions of years of evolution, and populating infinitely, all starve to death.

    Would the author like to starve to death? I would prefer to get myself some of that natural gas.

    Gasland is bogus! Sure some wells will have issues. But the dismiss the entire technology and industry only serves to exacerbate the public fear; not solve any human problems.

    The fact is, we are running out of Oil and Gas. We have no total alternative.. So stop scaring people!

    Industry is responding.. Those humans drink the water also.

    AND, Texas is a much much much larger play than that mentioned.

    Its going to spread to the entire world and supply will meet demand. Atleast more innocent third world countries will not have to suffer our oil and gas wars.

  161. Two and a half years have passed since this was published.
    What’s changed since 2010?
    The ‘world is our sewer’ industries have locked in more fossil fuel dependency, exploiting FUD tactics honed during the tobacco battles, while evading taxes, responsibility or accountability.

    As the Deepwater Horizon well blew, the M&MS; agency (the Department of the Interior department) responsible for reviewing the oil industries’ effects on the public safety) was sexing and snorting with the industry flacks, pimps and ‘hos.

    Our planet cannot be replaced, and a global addiction to oil is not analogous to a nicotine addiction, except in the final summation – the addict dies.

    It’s a predictable outcome, based on the history of the perpetrators.
    The PR industries all cut their canines on the tobacco world, and then on dismissing pathogens, carcinogens and biohazards for profit in the chemo and big pharma industries.

    While these miscreants remain kings of the world, there is scant hope for survival.

    Until then, find higher ground and microgrids.

  162. Aside from a few people who I believe to be shills for the fracking companies I think we can all agree that fracking is dangerous and the wrong route to take to meet our energy needs. The question remains “how do we as citizens stop this harmful industry?”

    I’m not seeing any of the grass root organizations popping up that got the detergent manufacturers to stop using phosphates for example.

    So, where do we start?

  163. I just yesterday received a copy of “Snake Oil – How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future” by Richard Heinberg. It looks to be a very valuable resource in our efforts to counter the industry shills (and those who repeat their messages without investigating them).
    from Post Carbon Institute, 2013

  164. Germany has banned fracking, by first requiring Utilities to pay for solar fed onto the grid.
    Sundra Sengraber, if you want to ban fracking, first pass a solar payment policy in your city.

    If homes burn down, we need legislation that requires
    rebuilding the homes to be built as
    solar generators and fire proof, so they make twice as much energy
    as they require for lights and an electric car.

    If a fire destroys home, we have an open lot,
    no trees or homes.
    With such a clean slate, caused by the fire, we can build homes with several solar carports around the house, to double the number
    of solar panels on the roof, sheds and barns.
    And eliminate lawns and their waste of water.

    Lancaster, Ca., is heading down this path, by requiring all new homes
    to be 100% solar powered, for AC, lights & an electric car.

    PG&E becomes just a farmers market for solar energy generated by homes & businesses.

    This would help new home buyers to pay the mortgage by
    requiring PG&E to pay $0.29 kwh, or some reasonable amount
    that would allow the
    home owner to recover the cost of their bank loan in 7 years.
    We realize this would give home owners a nice economic incentive to invest in solar,
    and that is what we all want.

    Such a solar payment policy has allowed 69 nations to shift from oil, coal, gas &
    nukes to solar & renewables.

    Today, Japan requires the Utilities to pay $0.53 kwh, Canada requires $0.39 kwh &
    Germany requires Utilities to pay $0.39 kwh.
    Germany has banned fracking by developing millions of solar homes.

    The price follows the cost of solar panels.
    The cost of solar keeps dropping,
    so the price Utilities must pay keeps falling.

    This is what is happening to music, phones, and now energy.

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